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Weaver Street Market Compromise Interpreted

The Carrboro News has been hired by a group(that wishes not to be named) to interpret to the citizens of Carrboro, the meaning behind Weaver Street Market's position on Dancing Bruce. Since this is a very complicated issue and we wanted be sure we were accurate, we assembled a group that included linguists, psychologists, psychiatrists, historians, legal experts, psychics, magicians, jugglers, and dancers.

Weaver Street document in Bold

Our Position on the Lawn

We love activity on the lawn.
We're proud that the lawn has such a valued place in the community and that it is the center of so much activity. We have worked hard over the last 18 years to build the lawn into a community institution and are committed to its future as a vibrant and active space.

When they use the term lawn, they are using it very loosely. We believe that they mean The Common Area. Lawns usually are made up of grass, while the Commons is made of mostly of mulch, dry solid, little clumps of grass and green polyester webbing left over from the original sod that was laid.

They have worked hard to make the lawn a vibrant and active space(18 years), but this last move is actually a move backwards, so we'll have to remove about 15 years of building, so in terms of building of the Commons' activities, we are back in about the 1992 period. So the future that are working towards at this point is really in the past.

We want to help expand the uses of the lawn.

The new "Live on the Lawn" program provides an additional opportunity for performers to use the lawn. We have volunteered to do the work to make the program happen, including providing insurance, coordinate the scheduling and cleaning up after performances.

This is a little bit of the old "bait and switch" method of dealing with an issue. At what point were we talking about 'performances"? The Community has been talking about a guy dancing on the lawn(excuse me, The Commons- there is no lawn), a juggler standing by the bench, someone hooping- they're not talking about a performance. It is WSM and Millian Management that wants to blow this up into a full scale performance(by only one person for one hour at a time!).

WSM generously offers to coordinate the scheduling and cleaning up after the performance, but that was never something that was needed before they implemented the new plan, so what they are actually doing is creating more work for themselves and then volunteering to do the work that was unnecessary in the first place(and besides that, how much garbage is there to clean up after Bruce dances for an hour?). The scheduling? Come on, seriously now... someone has to sign up to practice juggling on the commons? If you want to have to schedule that...fine.... but don't make it look like you're doing the Community a favor....

The Insurance? This brings up more questions than it answers. And again, it looks like something that is being offered, but was it necessary before, or only now that they have decided to call it a "performance"? Was there insurance before that didn't cover someone dancing on the Commons or juggling on the commons before the implementation of the "Live on the Lawn" performance series? If someone was walking on the commons and tripped, was he covered? If he was playing Frisbee and ran into a tree, was he covered? Does this mean that if Bruce hurts himself while "performing", WSM insurance will help pay his medical bills? What kind of insurance are we talking about anyway? Medical? Liability?

Carr mill Mall owns the lawn.

Weaver Street Market does not have the authority to grant permission to use the lawn. For every outdoor event WSM sponsors, we need to request permission to use the lawn, just like everyone else.

Bait and Switch again? If you want to call Bruce dancing on the lawn, Bill practicing his juggling and Mary hooping an "event". Then of course we need to make this a formal activity that requires permission. When my daughter plays ball on the commons, is that an "event" also. When a parent sits on the commons and blows bubbles(not with her child, as that would be two people and only one is allowed at a time) that an event? When an actor sits on the far bench studying his lines out that an event? If so, that means a debater practicing for his next debate is an "event"? My 16 month daughter is just learning to dance and loves it. If she wants to dance on the lawn, does that mean that she is an "event" and so we must get permission and sign up for her to dance? And if I want to dance with my daughter, I can't because only one person can "perform" at a time?

"Event" and "performance" are very nebulous terms that make the whole discussion kind of....well... kind of....blurry. I think we probably need some guidelines to determine what constitutes an "event" and "performance".

We appreciate Bruce Thomas.

Bruce has been a coworker, a loyal customer and a friend. We look forward to Bruce's continued presence on the lawn. We are pleased that the "Live on the Lawn" program will once again permit Bruce to dance on the lawn, although we realize that it's in a much more limited way than before.

This is a sort of pat on the back, "sorry man", relieve the guilt kind of support for Bruce. If there was true appreciation of Bruce, his creativity wouldn't have been stifled and he would not have to humiliate himself and "sign up" for a "performance". As the holder of the largest and most visible lease at Carr Mill, to believe that WSM had to come up with the "compromise" that they say they made is hard to swallow. That is not much of a compromise, it's more of having the terms dictated to them and agreeing. WSM definitely wouldn't win any awards for this little piece of "negotiation".


In Summary, it looks to The Carrboro News like Carr Mill wanted to ban Bruce from dancing, but couldn't just single out Bruce, so they had to call what he was doing something else(a 'performance') and then develop a policy that was based on these impromptu "events" being called "performances". Banning a black man from dancing(as they banned CJ, the other black man from listening to music from his car) is a risky business and really could get into a complicated legal situation. But if you call the black man's impromptu dancing and meditations "a performance" and stick him into a large group of other people(who to the best of our knowledge are not anywhere to be seen), then it looks like it's just a little "shift" in policy.

WSM for some strange reason, chose not to fight this battle and came up with a compromise that is really not a compromise, but more of a total cave in to Carr Mill. But seeing how the Community is the reason that WSM exists, they need to justify their stance to their customers and community and the only way to do that was to blur the issues and present the solution as a reaction to something that wasn't actually as they describe it in the first place.

They chose to stand with Carr Mill at the unveiling of this "solution", which means they must have had a large degree of respect for the solution that was drawn up, yet they still have the need to add an asterisk(the document interpreted above). Had The Carrboro News been in a position of leadership, we would have certainly not have lent our name to this "compromise" and would have let Carr Mill present it as their solution(we would have not problem giving them full credit- in fact, we would have not wanted our name associated with the compromise in any form or manner), instead of compromising ourselves by presenting our support to this new program.

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