Arts Brief: Popsicles and Propaganda

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It looked like it might rain, but the kids and parents lined up at the ice cream truck to get something cold and sweet.

“We have grape popsicles and bomb pops left. Red, white and blue,” Aaron Gach told the little girl who tried to hand him a dollar for the free dessert. “Now, what flavor propaganda do you want with that?”

He was used to the perplexed look and pointed to the menu that listed an assortment of topics from “Know Your Rights” to “Anarchy.”

As co-founder and director of operations of the Center for Tactical Magic, Gach knows a thing or two about tempting people with frozen goodies to then offer them political information. He and others have manned the “Tactical Ice Cream Unit” for months, visiting cities across the country in a sweetly subversive attempt to spread information. What appears to be a mild-mannered vending operation is actually tricked out with 12 video surveillance cameras, gas masks, GPS—and, of course, ice cream. The anarchist ice cream truck was in town this past weekend as a mobile project, part of Creative Time’s year-long program, Democracy in America: The National Campaign, curated by Nato Thompson.

They will join a host of other artists, activists and performers September 21 for the kickoff of the seven-day “Convergence Center” at the Park Avenue Armory, which will include speeches by Karen Finley, David Harvey, Reverend Billy and others. Work from over 40 artists will be exhibited as well as installations from four Creative Time commissions by Sharon Hayes, Olga Koumoundouros and Rodney McMillian, Steve Powers and Mark Tribe. It’s sure to be a spirited and inspiring event that will attract more than the usual lefty bunch.
Located near the ice cream truck this weekend, Angel Nevarez + Valerie Tevere cranked up the volume as park visitors attempted their best rendition of a Dead Kennedys song. Their project, Another Protest Song: Karaoke With a Message, was also reminding people that politics isn’t something that should be co-opted by news media. It’s meant to empower and change the world—one voice at a time.

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