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Indians Occupy Dance Club

Dreamed 2012/8/31 by Wayan

I'm flipping through an oversized magazine. A comics section catches my eye. One page is an intricate ink drawing with color washes--it shows a TV dance show like Soul Train, but the studio's been invaded by Indian protestors--several High Plains tribes, allied. Plains Indian protesters take over outdoor dance club. Giraffes and horses dance. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

Out on the dance floor, they demonstrate a new Ghost Dance. A medicine man grabs the MC's mic and says a new prophet had a revelation in dreams of a spirit dance that'll halt the capitalist rape of nature and the theft of Indian land. But this Ghost Dance is inclusive--the vision said "Give THIS dance to ALL Americans!"

Sadly, his speech balloon in the comic shows us only a few disjointed phrases; I only got this much. Our cartoonist cares nothing for dreams or visions; all he cares for is the scene.

The ink cartoon's tangled, cluttered, with spiky lines full of energy--but their faces are jagged scrawls. "Visual noise to make it artsy" I think sourly. Even their figures are harsh--expressing only the artist's raspy energy, not their feelings or characters. Anti-Indian prejudice? But the club's non-Indian dancers, whether gawking or joining in (as quite a few are), are scrawly-generic too. Not racism, then: just universal misanthropy.

Because that's so much better.

The only one with any grace is a skinny girl in her early teens dancing madly in the foreground, naked but for feathers beads and leather wristlets. Crazy sexy energy, but her face is just an angry scrawl, like the other humans.

Humans alone. In contrast, the several horses in the dance, toward the back but definitely in the studio, are better drawn, with soulful expressive eyes. It seems clear our cartoonist prefers horses to humans. Jonathan Swift?

In the upper left, outside the studio, on a grass strip by an elevated freeway, several braves in breechclouts and chaps are riding high on giraffes. High in two senses: yes, they've shimmied up giraffe necks to shout slogans at startled drivers passing by, twenty feet up... but they also pass round a huge reefer, as big as a sage-bundle but definitely pot. Toss the gargantuan doobie between giraffes, and shout stoned-out surfer slang above the pop-music din--"Duude! Catch the spliiiiiiffff!" What?

Sex, drugs and rock and roll is the new Ghost Dance? I'm not sure Wovoka would approve.

But then... this is just a jaundiced caricature in a magazine, not the Dance itself.

And for white coverage of an Indian protest, just getting scrawled is an achievement.


Plains Indian girl and horse dance together. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

LISTS AND LINKS: dance - clubs - Native Americans - politics - kids - nudity - horses - giraffes - drugs - news media - bias - comics, brushwork & art experiments - pencil versus ink - two months later, a different native girl dances naked in: Foresee Politics, but Blind to Sex

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