1% Free and the Digger Movement


This work is about process and execution. After a muddle through numerous experiments and psychic traffic jams suddenly there it is - perfect ease! It may have taken years to get a movement that is free of confusion or mannerism. It makes up for all the hard work that goes into the recycle bin, and simply exists as a moment where the breath of the dance is perfectly executed in ink on paper.

In my studio I still have an old poster from my San Francisco Digger days. It has two Chinese bachelors at a corner, sharing a smoke with the slogan of 1% Free. The digger movement began in the early 60's. It grew out from mime troupe street actors and playwrights who responded, when the city didn't, to the infusion of young people migrating to the Haight Ashbury. Street theatre became free soup kitchens in the pan handle, free clinics, free garbage collection and Peter Berg's controversial Free Store at the corner of Carl and Cole. Local kids adept at shoplifting were caught by Peter's Genghis Khan eye, had their loot taken from them, only to be given back with a warning not to steal. Much of this time has been documented in books like "Ringolevio", by Emmett Groggan and Peter Coyotes "Sleeping Where I Fall".


1% free is a reminder that we can afford to free up a fast rising economy's overproduction. When Peter Coyote interviewed me for his book. in 1991, I was reminded once more of our street theatre days. It was in the air again when I made this piece of calligraphy. When the book came out seven years later, I gave 1% free to Peter.

Elsa Marley

gardenya @aol.com

Copyright 1999 Elsa Marley. All rights reserved.

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latest update:12 Feb 00