If you find yourself wandering our depopulated Downtown today (and possibly into early this evening), swing by Bricolage Theatre's storefront, at 937 Liberty Ave.
Just a few blocks from the Convention Center, Bricolage's Tami Dixon has opened one of the few unshuttered spots on that stretch of Liberty for anyone to write what the G-20 makes them think. Butcher paper is stretched across the walls and floor, and markers are supplied.
Dixon began the project Thursday night in reaction to G-20 arguments, griping and clashes between police and protestors. "People want to be heard, but there's too much yelling and no space for listening," said Dixon in an e-mail.
On the first night, visitors included anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, who wrote, "Stop Raping Us."
I stopped by a couple hours ago, and Dixon was hosting a steady stream of passersby. "We're the only thing open," she said. Inside, The Decembrists played on the stero while artist David Connelly painted a colorful mural on one wall.
On the floor, the messages (some ironic, most not) ranged from "Stop the Protesting / Police Rule" to "Follow Jesus as your king!" and "Great Day for the World, America and Pittsburgh."
Also: "G-20, G-21 ... Whatever it Takes."
"Do Africans Matter?"
"Dear Protestors: Why do you want to wreck our city?"
"Strippers [heart] riots." (Connelly: "We had some girls from Blush in here last night.")
Dixon herself was sitting out front, encouraging people to come in, but mostly heard refusals. "People are so afraid if you ask them to do this," she said.
Writing one's opinions, she speculated, scares many people more than speaking them does.
Even reading opinions seems to trouble some. As I arrived, a middle-aged guy in a T-shirt who'd ventured inside came out to where two friends were waiting. "OK, guys, let's go," he said. "Buncha wacko stuff in there."