New Orleans The day after my blog on the HUD hoax I spent much of the day as faithful readers know hosting Buzz Hargrove and our friends with the Canadian Auto Workers who are working hand in hand with us in the 9th ward. At the end of that day I had one more item on my schedule. A production assistant named Jen Lopez had called several times to set up a time for 5:30 PM with a crew that from what I gathered was doing a show for the BBC about the impact of Katrina and the work being done.
They were almost on time and it was a camera woman, a sound man, the producer, and two guys doing the interview: Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. The interview started with some general questions, but something was off. The questions were a little too “gee, whiz?” A little too broad? They would also ask about Pres Kabacoff, the developer, or Boysie Bollinger, the Bush pioneer and shipyard mogul, both of whom have been voices for a different footprint and return in the city. Somehow I introduced the question of the HUD hoax as an intuitive “test” and my interviews looked at me and responded directly, that no the tenant was not invited, but heard about it, showed up and was supportive. Andy and Mike then admitted that, “yes,” they were the Yes Men.
What a hoot! It turned out that I was something of a “reality check” compared to the number of big whoops in the city who had spent hours and hours with them without knowing who they were or what it was about, but seduced by the camera. I probably had my foot somewhat in my mouth while the camera was running as well, but at least I had gotten to the heart of it, but it sounded like some folks had their whole leg down their mouth while the camera was running with these guys.
The Yes Men seem to do this frequently from what they told me. One bounces back and forth between New York and Paris. Jen Lopez was a student on leave from UC Santa Cruz trying to figure out the phenomena.
Fascinating? And, weird!
Anarchists in action hoping that truth means something to power, and that their brand of satire and film has a political weight. I am going to have to think about this and thank the stars that I was not the sucker born that minute.
Check out their website for more of this wildness on New Orleans and elsewhere: www.theyesmen.org.
August 31, 2006