Posts Tagged ‘Class Conscious Kickball’

The Winter 2009 Unlympiad

July 23, 2009

In Winter 2009, the City of Chicago and a not-for-profit organization called Chicago 2016—backed by PR firm Hill & Knowlton—submitted an official bid to the International Olympic Committee for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Chicago 2016 claimed that over 80% of the citys residents approved of the bid.

They didn’t.

Over four consecutive Saturdays in the middle of a bitterly cold winter, a group of Chicagoans created a series of competitive events to prove it. The Winter 2009 Unlympic Games engaged Chicago residents in active dialogue—extremely active dialogue—about the 2016 Olympic bid.

The Unlympics includes real sports, fake sports, and things that should be sports but arent yet and looks at highly organized, internationally recognized, massively marketed, thoroughly branded, and extremely expensive sporting events to ask residents: shouldn’t we have the right to decide what we do with our public spaces and public funds?

Video edited by Abigail Satinsky at: http://incubate-chicago.org/.

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Class-Conscious Kickball commentary, Kristen Cox and Salem Collo-Julin (and Team CC)

February 4, 2009
by Liz Wuerffel

by Liz Wuerffel

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention please!!!

 

Welcome to the Chicago Working Group on Extreme Inequality-sponsored event—winter kickball!

What you are about to experience will not be your average ordinary kickball game. No ma’am, sir, or zer. Because it is NOT hard work and athleticism that score you a homeroom in life—that’s right, no it is not. In most cases, your place in society is already set by the time you pop out of your mom’s kooch. Not fair you say! Life is not fair, my friend. Even if you catch your ball, the game is stacked, the deal is already done. Many of us are born with more privileges, landing us on second or third base, while others are left behind, even struggling to get to first. And by good faith, luck and or in some cases, stealing, they get to second, third and maybe, fourth. But rarely. Fourth base is reserved for the lottery winners, CEOs, inheritors, and celebrities. Ladies and gents and all those in between: we are living in a cat and mouse game of chase with high hopes of kicking a homerun, to earn that American Dream or first Olympic Medal.

by Liz Wuerffel

by Liz Wuerffel

Let the game—Class-Conscious Kickball—Begin!

 

[Salem Announces.]

Announcer: First up to kick we have . . . Edwina the Eagle. Edwina was working as a plasterer, a strenuous but high demand blue-collar job especially when contracted for wealthy restoration clients, when she qualified as the sole British applicant for the 1988 Winter Olympic ski jumping team. Her family worked as stage hands for the British production of CATS!. So Edie E. (as she was known) was forced to self-fund her training. She wore seven layers of socks to accommodate her donated pair of skis. They were top-of-the-line but terribly ill-fitting. Another problem was that she was very short-sighted, requiring her to wear her glasses at all times, even though when skiing they fogged to such an extent that she could not see. She finished last in both the 70 m and 90 m events, hardly making it to first base at all, having to succumb to the arduous labor of plastering until she got arthritis so bad that she had to live off of social security for the rest of her life. Starts to FIRST but fades away to reaching NO BASE at all.

by Liz Wuerffel

by Liz Wuerffel

Susie “Ski“ Medal was born on second base, in the beautiful mountains of Colorado to a prominent lumber-company family. Because she could wake up and ski down the mountain any day she pleased, she became a top-notch skier at the ripe age of six. Her father, being successful at exploiting Mexican day laborers in his lumber business, spent his disposable income on entering Susie in ski contests every season, which prepared her for her Olympic medal career. SECOND BASE.

 

This is Ada, a middle-class, second-generation Mexican American female whose parents did not come from money, as their parents were immigrants and worked multiple jobs. Parents were able to work their way through college and took out loans. Ada goes to college but receives minimal support from parents. They were not able to save or build a college fund for their daughter so she must, like many of us, take out high interest-earning student loans. While Ada is able to get her college degree she finds her debt still outweighs her income and she has to pay $350 per month on $25 K in loans. Ada makes it to frist base. FIRST BASE.

[Note: Obstacle in baseline.]

(Oops what that’s in her way. It’s a high-interest bearing loan which will slow and weigh her down so that she barrrreeeelllllyy reaches first base. [Picks up object. Lugs her body and can barely get there.]

by Liz Wuerffel

by Liz Wuerffel

Meanwhile Susie ‘Ski’ Medal signs onto a sponsorship with Cambell’s Soup which propels her toward third base but, under the strict rules of competition, she’s tested and caught drinking performance-enhancing drugs in her soup which strikes her OUT on a mandatory two-year suspension with ridicule and shame.

 

Kiki, born into poverty in upstate, Buffalo, NY. Zhey was a good kid, walked to school uphill both ways and fell in love with zer after-school thespian drama club. Kiki spent afternoons glamourizing Madonna, Bette Midler, and Sophie Tucker, impersonating them and singing loud in zer bedroom. Kiki won a scholarship to Julliard in New York City which landed zer on first base, as Julliard ain’t easy to get into. A stint in Lever commercials landed zer a primetime TV series, for which zhey earned a Golden Globe for Kiki’s depiction of a musical rendition of telenovela based on the life of homicidal maniac, John Wayne Gacey. Now zhe’s sittin pretty at second base. Despite zer prestige and fame, zhey decided to return to zer roots of the live stage, backtracking to first base to take an equity actor gig in a regional theater in order to play the lead in the stage revival of Victor/Victoria. SECOND to FIRST BASE.

Greta Cummings married into the Phillip-Morris USA family and comfortably situated herself on third base as she enjoyed moist, smokeless tobacco (“MST”). She earned her Bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from a middle-of-the-road-school, the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Note: not your prestigious ivy league school. Though she married Gregory Cummings Sr., she had to fuck members of the Senior Management team in order to secure her position as Senior Vice President of Quality & Compliance for Philip-Morris USA. Greta’s organizational role is to manufacture superior branded cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products that meet our quality, safety, and demand specifications at the best possible cost. She makes $1.2 million annually. THIRD BASE.

Sylvestor grew up on no base, next to a garbage incinerator plant in Indiana. He developed asthma from a very early age and it doesn’t help matters that he inhales toxic pollutants daily because he now lives near a bus depot. His health constraints are pretty serious and he weezes if too physically active. He can’t get anywhere without his inhaler, and everyone in his family has health problems, asthma being the most common. He could even potentially die from an asthma attack. He can’t afford health care, so when it’s bad he goes to the Federally Qualified Health Center (AKA the clinic) but it’s a pain in the ass. The emergency room takes too long and he swears it doesn’t do any good to go there anyway. The funny thing is he had health care as a child through medicare, but now that’s he an adult, Uncle Sam could give two shits. NO BASE.

by Liz Wuerffel

by Liz Wuerffel

There was no record of Christy Walton before she became a millionaire. She was a nobody. Propelled by Sam Walton’s homerun kick, via the purchasing power of the working poor, she was magically transported to home base when she inherited a $16 billion fortune from her dead hubby John Walton. As the wealthiest woman in the United States, thanks to Wal*Mart, Christy is a fervent supporter of the Republican Party and school-choice programs for under-privileged children. She enjoys busting union shops in her free time and she’s an avid hunter jumper but also hunts ducks, quail, and raven for whom she employs a personal—on staff, at minimum wage, non-union—taxodermist for her prize dead birdlings. In addition to her love of birds, she is a Republican for choice. HOME RUN.

 

Meanwhile, Greta, in testing the MST products such as Virginia Slims, fell ill, was hospitalized, and died from complications but WE know she really died from lung cancer, puffing on those MST her whole life long. She left her only son Gregory with a sizable estate of $14 million plus insurance and a settlement package, to be determined.

[Gregory takes Greta’s place at THIRD.]

Gregory A. Cummings, Jr. stolls into a settlement package onto home base with a life full of plentiful luxuries at his beck and call. He has so much money he doesn’t really know what to do, or how to use much of it and so he becomes a recluse in his inherited rural ranch estate and becomes the foremost tobacco enthusiast blogger and antique pipe collector. RUN IN.

by Liz Wuerffel

by Liz Wuerffel

[Kristin now announces.]

 

Max Power is now up to bat—but in a way, he has always been up to bat as Max was born into wealth and owns the bases. He was born into that, as the Power family, as we all know, is the Official Corporate Sponsor of this and many other Kickball Fields! Max’s family of origin divides their time between Sonoma and Singapore, but Max’s childhood was mostly spent shuffling from military school to military school. While Max’s lack of personal attention from hir parents made hir a highly independent and quite rebellious individual, it also made hir distrustful of intimacy and a bit unable to process emotional interaction. Fortunately, Mr. & Mrs. Power’s financial state was always there to bail Max out of hir “shenanigans”.

And we have a kick, looks like it’s going to be an out. Caught successfully by the outfielders, but wait—Max is arguing with the umpire. Now it’s getting physical! Now Max is being escorted out of the game. Looks like there’s a limo waiting for hir in the parking lot . . . OUT.

Indoor/Outdoor Games (sponsored by the Chicago Working Group on Extreme Inequality)

February 2, 2009

Run Around the Block and We'll Time You

The Indoor/Outdoor Games were off to a rousing start as the costumed and uncostumed alike competed in the competition Run Around the Block and We’ll Time You, modified here to be Run Around the Pole and We’ll Time You.

Winner's Circle

Two winners took home Gold Medals in this competition: One for speed and one for style. (You can already see several contestants who came prepared for the Fashion Competition.)

Matt Evens the Playing Field

Matthew Joynt, Co-Secretary of the Unlympics Organizing Committee, shovels snow off the baseline to even the playing field for Class-Conscious Kickball.

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Unfortunately, the rich had all the advantages in the game, which allowed some to get to Third Base . . .

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. . . and other unable to make it to First.

Finally, Max Power (brilliantly played by Salem Collo-Julin), representing a confluence of wealth and power, took the field.img_3983

Leaving several bodies in her wake—appropriately enough in Washington Park, the site of the future Olympic Stadium and potential rampant displacement of Chicago residents from their homes—Max Power attacks the ref, takes the ball, and pronounces herself the winner.

Kristin and Joe

Kristin Cox, of sponsor organization Chicago Working Group on Extreme Inequality, narrates the events of Class-Conscious Kickball while Official Unlympics Commentator Joe Mason facilitates.

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The evening’s game, Live Action Role Play Family Potluck Dinner, became excessively messy as family members argued the merits and downsides of the Chicago 2016 bid. 

All photos by Secretary of the Unlympics Organizing Committee Anne Elizabeth Moore, and you can see more of them here.