MJ 4 EVA
15 June 2010
So anyone who knows me knows how my hero is Michael Jackson. I truly believe that it’s fate I’ve found myself in MJ’s hometown for a project this Summer.
Zanny and I are doing a 6-week residency through Mess Hall in the Roger’s Park area of Chicago but have been drawn to work close by in city of Gary, Indiana.
We were fortunate enough to meet Sam A Love, one of the keyholders of Mess Hall who grew up around Gary and still very much has a strong connection to the area; besides photographing the city for the last 8 years and running local tours of Gary he is determined to show people that Gary has more going on than one of the highest homicide rates in the country. He has already introduced us to some amazing local activist groups, including CDOP: Central District Organizing Project and Local 219: The People’s Union, both of which he is part of.
But back to MJ…
The latest hoohar in Gary is over the fact the Mayor, Rudy Clay along with Michael’s father Joe Jackson, is proposing a $300 Million dollar MJ megaplex, including everything from a museum, cultural centre, concert hall, memorial pavillion, conference centre, elevated light rail and a golf course!
But wait… the clincher is that in the megaplex press conference Mayor Clay said:
“If this fails … it will be Gary, Indiana, people’s fault.”
“Sometimes, people throw poison into the soup. We don’t want Gary people throwing poison in the soup.”
As one reporter said, “A number of Gary residents can’t even afford to throw poison in a pot of soup, let alone a can of soup, because of unemployment, layoffs and a lack of new jobs.”
What kind of mayor would speak about the people in his electorate like that?! – This man has a giant billboard on the main Broadway drag of Gary with his name in giant letters followed by “Cares About People”- yes, in inverted commas! – (he should really trademark that slogan.)
In a city which competes for the title of “murder capital of the US”, where unemployment is high and derelict buildings are a dime a dozen the mayor has his priorities on a $300 million development?!
Now he seems like the fly in the soup to me.