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The Revolutionary
Level 1: 10 points
Alltime Score: 2922 points
Last Logged In: July 4th, 2008

75 + 446 points

Su Casa by The Revolutionary, Fox Glove

December 6th, 2007 10:27 PM

INSTRUCTIONS: Get yourself invited into a stranger's house to have dinner with their family.

We made a sign. We put on our best dinner clothes.

Then we went out to the corner of North and Damen, close to the El Train station where people were returning home from work, and attempted to look as cute and approachable as possible.

Time: 6:25PM
Temperature: 25F, Snowing

We were prepared to wait for several hours, and even then, did not expect any sort of success. We were assuming that we would be returning to this street corner several nights in a row in search of a single invitation. But this would not be the case. Apparently we are very cute.

Time: 6:29PM

A polite young couple, "E" and "J," on their way home, approached us after a brief couple-huddle.

E, to us: "You're looking for dinner?"

may1968: "What are you thinking?"

E: "We are going home to make some soup - would you like soup?"

may1968: "Yes! Can we help you make it?"

Turns out E and J are slow-fooders, which is to say they enjoy their meals. This was the most incredible lentil soup we have had in days, served with fresh French bread (E is from France), and white wine.

True warmth, E was kind enough to give me some of her yarn and a hat that she made!

While the soup was simmering, we helped them burn some sensitive documents in their barbecue... just personal records of course - nothing incriminating.

They had a lot of documents.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Time: 9:56 PM
Task: Success


Notes from May1968:

This experience was simply uncanny. We had hardly been on the streetcorner long enough to snap documentation photos than this incredible couple invited us over. I never could have imagined such immediate hospitality. Not only were they friendly people, but horribly well-prepared for dinner guests. Their apartment was beautiful, their kitchen already stocked with the best ingredients, and their kitchenware immaculate and ingenious - a weighted potato peeler and a no-sharp-edges can opener were particular highlights. We had a wonderful time getting to know them in those few hours, found that we had some things in common, but many exciting differences. It is unlikely that we would have ever made the acquaintance of E and J under normal circumstances. For me, this was the perfect tasking experience; my thanks to everyone involved!

Before we executed this project, the question was raised: we are setting up a problematic situation by bringing together the elements of "sign," "food," "streetcorner," and "middle-class twenty-somethings." Considering how the night unfurled, I would count that we did something very good. But, the problem remains problematic - and I would like to hear what you all have to say.

Notes from Fox Glove:
Lonesome city looking for a connection...
The city can be a very lonesome place, and there are so many times when I want to ask strangers...”Would you tell me your story?”
I want adventures, partners in crime, but most of all, I want to know what sits hidden inside of the refrigerators and on top of the tables that fill this city. I want to hear the conversation that floats through your homes.

Context and the Power of Signs...
The power of a sign. In those 4 minutes outside with the sign, lonely and curious eyes wandered, hidden grins showed for fractions of a second. We were breaking through the walls of mundane routine.
To allow someone into your home for a meal is so much more than giving someone food. It is trusting, opening your heart and sharing a piece of your life in a deep and personal way.
Truly this task was beautiful, and opened my eyes to the kindness of strangers.

I can’t stop thinking about our privilege. When we first started looking for a spot we walked past some people who I see on the street a lot asking for money. How and why did we get a warm meal and a meaningful evening of connecting with strangers?
Walking past people who do this every day to eat made me feel hesitant about this project. My goal going into this was to be respectful to others. I feel that we succeeded as best we could through our honesty about our identity in society (through the formal attire that we wore) and the message that we held.

I just wonder what if we gave the sign to others to hold, wore different clothing, were different combinations of genders, older, younger. And what if we weren’t surrounded by our peers.

Conclusion I:
I’m not done with this yet. I think I have a great deal of meals to learn from, neighborhoods to visit, and Tables to experience. Chicago, I want to meet you, I want to hear what you have to say.

Conclusion II:
Wow, this really made me feel safe, maybe too safe. I just can’t believe how easy it was. Much more simple, interactive, and meaningful than my experiences busking. In regards to privilege I don’t know what to say, but I have a different kind of appreciation now.

Conclusion III:
Dear Table,
I think I have forgotten about you.
I apologize, couch, bed and desk, but you just aren’t the same. Table, I love your curves and I miss surrounding you with hugs of warm food and friends. I put bills on you and use you to make P.B. and J. sandwiches so I don’t have to sit at you.
And thats not right.
Save the Tables...yes, I think I must start a Save the Tables Campaign for you and all of your dear friends that have been neglected.
I will slow down, so I can have time for you, no not just you, us.

Fox Glove

P.S. Food, I think I have neglected you as well,
maybe we can work out a deal with Table.

- smaller

Would YOU invite two strangers to your home for dinner?

The street corner


Our hosts' hands


Fox Glove is an excellent dinner companion



True warmth. E was kind enough to give me some of her yarn and a hat that she made! Sooo sweet and unexpected.


10PM, still snowing.

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31 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by help im a bear on December 6th, 2007 10:31 PM

i'm most impressed that you managed to do this. i do wish you had photos of E and J other than just their hands. but still, very impressive.

(no subject)
posted by The Revolutionary on December 6th, 2007 10:34 PM

Of course we took photos of our hosts.

But getting invited into someone's home, snapping photographs of them and their apartment, then posting that on the internet?


posted by Spidere on December 6th, 2007 10:39 PM

I'm also surprised by how quickly you were invited, and how well it turned out. Kudos!

(no subject)
posted by Levitating Potato on December 6th, 2007 11:09 PM

Wow. Seriously impressive.

What did you talk about? Did you tell them about SF0? What did they think of the whole idea? Did they have anything interesting to say about why they invited you?

posted by lara black on December 6th, 2007 11:33 PM

that this occurred this makes my heart hurt (in the best imaginable way, of course).

(no subject)
posted by Frostbeard on December 6th, 2007 11:34 PM

um....amazing? i can't believe you got invited to the house of slow fooders! what ridiculous luck. i'm no slow fooder really, but i know what makes good food, and this just seems amazing. am jealous. good job.

(no subject)
posted by anna one on December 6th, 2007 11:48 PM

Although I expect nothing less coming from you-all.

(no subject)
posted by Ricky Ricardo on December 7th, 2007 12:21 AM

es fantastico eso-- pero que suerte. quiza que sois vestid@s diferentemente de otra gente mendigante.

debeis repagar una vez cuando pudeis, este regalote, por otr@s estudiantes.

(no subject)
posted by Burn Unit on December 7th, 2007 6:23 AM

slow food for the win

(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on December 7th, 2007 9:34 AM

And so my faith in mankind is rekindled bit by bit.

(no subject)
posted by Iaman on December 7th, 2007 12:58 PM

Wow, this is simply amazing. It is very nice to know that there are still kind, decent people around, especially in such cold times.

Yes, that pun was very much so intended.

(no subject)
posted by Fonne Tayne on December 7th, 2007 3:24 PM

and womankind? no faith there?

(no subject)
posted by Westley on December 7th, 2007 4:54 PM

anything given is given for true love's sake.

(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on December 7th, 2007 11:26 PM

I meant mankind as it usually refers to humans in general.

My faith in womankind rarely wavers.

(no subject)
posted by rongo rongo on December 8th, 2007 2:48 PM

Marvelous! I see what you mean about it also being a bit unsettling, though, with regards to comparing with the experience of people who are in need. I guess it comes down to it being human to prefer doing something potentially fun and interesting (having dinner with zany but safe and sane looking strangers) versus doing something uncomfortable (interacting with homeless people or panhandlers). I really don't know how to resolve this. It seems unfair to broadly characterize one group of people as being more mentally ill, threatening, and unpleasant than others. But there is a real correlation too.

Hmm, a real HC kind of situation.

(no subject)
posted by The Revolutionary on December 8th, 2007 4:28 PM

Precisely a HC kind of situation.

The question now is whether to continue this sketch into a full-fledged project, involving more streetcorners, less comfortable neighborhoods, a trail of documentation, and a trajectory of a final audience... or to conclude that the presentation is too problematic, and that we should give this up and continue to ignore the humanitarian crisis that is at the root of the issue.

One of the great proofs
posted by Charlie Fish on December 9th, 2007 9:20 AM

Fairly or not, this is somehow more meaningful than if it had taken you hours and days to find a host.

Which part felt weirder?
posted by Blue on December 12th, 2007 10:56 AM

Going to a strangers home for dinner, or documenting the experience?

(no subject)
posted by The Revolutionary on December 12th, 2007 11:18 AM

Documenting was weird. Very, very weird.

posted by Fox Glove on December 14th, 2007 8:37 AM

I don't think I felt weird the whole time when we were with the couple. I felt like documenting was like taking pics with friends at a dinner party. Maybe my jobs have made me too comfortable in uncomfortable situations. I was surprised how pleasant this task was.

Oooh and I found the perfect thank you gift...but I don't recall what street they lived on. Grrr, at least I wrote down their apt. #, I think I will be wandering through the streets tonight

(no subject)
posted by Tiny Dancing Tzarina on December 15th, 2007 9:39 AM

This is amazing. And if you are thinking about doing this task over and over to see your many different results, you might want to consult with players in different states and cities. I know that the response I might get here in Stockton CA might not be as welcoming as yours, though I guess it all relys on chance, doesn't it?

Sorry for rambling. It was still a beautiful completion. Congratulations on finding two new friends!

posted by Ennui on December 21st, 2007 4:23 AM


What a wonderful experience.
Let there be no doubt...
Art can and does restore our faith in humanity...
in others and ourselves.

"I want adventures, partners in crime, but most of all, I want to know what sits hidden inside of the refrigerators and on top of the tables that fill this city. I want to hear the conversation that floats through your homes."
- Amen, Sister!

(no subject)
posted by Ink Tea on December 28th, 2007 12:22 PM

Have I really been so out of the loop that I missed this?

Lovely, as usual.

(no subject)
posted by Minch on March 17th, 2008 3:52 PM

"that this occurred this makes my heart hurt (in the best imaginable way, of course)." dito.

My faith in womankind rarely wavers. double dito.

(no subject)
posted by Adam on April 9th, 2008 12:57 AM

I keep looking back to this. Two reasons. That lentil soup looks really, really nice and now I want some soup and soup is healthier than whatever else I would have had.

And that it is probably one of my top three completions on this site. It is seriously wonderful. And it's not complex or confusing, just wonderful.

(no subject)
posted by meredithian on April 10th, 2008 7:03 AM

this task and this praxis are both amazing. i feel like might be something worth doing even without the impetus of posting a praxis about it.

of course, we might not all be quite so successful. you guys really lucked out!

(no subject)
posted by Sparrows Fall on April 10th, 2008 9:07 AM

Wow, ditto everyone. This is a fantastic task, as well as one that brings up a number of complex questions.

(no subject)
posted by Adam on April 10th, 2008 9:09 AM

This is my favourite image. They have such a nice dinner. Lentil soup mmm.

Seriously? I wish I could cook that well, and have such nice wine.

posted by Pizazz on December 4th, 2008 10:11 PM

This is AMAZING. You made a spark of light in the world. Well done to both you and E & J, So much love.

(no subject)
posted by Anna Louise on November 19th, 2009 12:26 AM

What a great thing to read just when I was about to get a bit disappointed with the world in general. (Which goes to show that my strategy works: disappointed w/ world --> visit SF0 --> warm fuzzy feelings towards world.)

Thank you for daring to try this out and for sharing the story!

Also, I think that the sign that you made was very beautiful. Neat and very readable lettering - it probably had something to do with you being invited so quickly.

Have you tried this again?

posted by Silent Zig on May 7th, 2010 2:19 PM

This is just such a great story. Thanks for sharing!