William Pope.L: Candy Mountain, June 6-7, 2003. Performance view. Portland, Oregon: Regional Arts & Culture Council, 2003.
“One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fires were burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
He said, “Boys, I’m not turning
I’m heading for a land that’s far away
Beside the crystal fountain
I’ll see you all this coming fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain…”
The artist William Pope.L performed this piece in June, 2003 on a stage painted with the American flag in the empty lot at SW 3rd and Taylor in downtown Portland. Pope.L conducted a marathon dance challenge over two nights with the aid of the citizens of Portland, who signed up to dance with the artist. In return, he donated $10 of his money for each dance partner to the charity OUTSIDE IN. The performance, described by the artist as “dancing for a new democracy,” was a wake-up call, and both lightened the step and provided a lesson in social responsibility.
Using the depression-era song “Big Rock Candy Mountain” and dressed in a white milkman uniform, Pope L. danced the foxtrot with visitors and chatted with each about homelessness, love of county, and the future of democracy. On the hour, every hour, Pope.L was doused with a pail of chocolate syrup, which he said, “lubricates the relationship between citizens who fight for liberty but live in a country with a long history of racism.”
Courtesy of Regional Arts & Culture Council InSitu Program. © the Artist.
Artist Credit: William Pope.L
Exhibition: Regional Arts & Culture Council InSitu Program; William Pope.L: Candy Mountain, June 6-7, 2003