Description 72 - Between Mud and Sky

Volunteering for a theatre company, I explore Dufferin Grove Park, where the play's the thing in more ways than one. Featuring a naked kid, a pongophone, ice cream truck music and Stephen Harper getting beaten with a stick.

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Associated links
(Update: November 21 - Jutta Mason opens the Dufferin Grove rink for the season with her own two hands)
Friends of Dufferin Grove Park
You may know Todd Tyrtle from such podcasts as The QN Podcast and Talking Stick
Blog post: The Tyrtles Have Landed
Clay and Paper Theatre
Trailer for Between Sea and Sky with ASL
Ryerson University Centre for Learning Technologies
Citizen Z @NFB.ca (not with description, which kind of sucks)
Dufferin Rink
The Brick Oven @Project for Public Spaces
Barbara Klunder
"Dufferin Grove Park" poem by RM Vaughan
Okay, technically, the wading pool is not a Splash pad...
For the Birds by Margaret Atwood
What is Cob?
The QN perspective on the Punch and Judy show with Stephen Harper

In case you think Dufferin Grove Park is some sort of hothouse of gentrification in some well-to-do, lily-white neighbourhood, you would be wrong. That area has had a history of poverty and crime and all kinds of people from everywhere doing their best to get by, so making the park what it's become was an uphill battle and continues to take strength. The fact you wouldn't immediately know that from being there speaks volumes.

If you could only click through one link in that list (and that's not true, so go to all of them), it would be the one for Friends of Dufferin Grove Park, because not only does it have all the information about everything going on in the park (rink! oven! cob! campfires! farmers' market! arts! history!), but it sort of evokes the vibe of the park - there are forums and public discussion sections everywhere. The transparency of process in how things work is really impressive.

It should not come as a surprise, then, that the editor of the site is Jutta Mason (from Germany - yet another immigrant), who was a major part of the "friends" creating what Dufferin Grove Park is now. She won the Jane Jacobs Prize in 2001, and continues to help hold together the spirit of freedom and community the park embodies every day, inspiring work beyond that block through the Centre For Local Research Into Public Space (CELOS). Mind you, she only helps to hold it together, because this sort of thing doesn't work the way they've done it through the control of a person or two - it has taken a deep but not-foolish trust in one's fellow neighbours.

I think many of the greatest thinkers concerning social media can relate to that. So if you have any interest in any kind of community, you'd do well to study that one site as deeply as you can, and take notes.

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