Saturday, September 15, 2007
I recently watched Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke" on DVD, and then, masochistically, I went to the theater to see another post-Katrina documentary, called "Kamp Katrina." The first one is four hours of "what, when, who" and especially relentlessly "how and why" with numerous oral histories of ordinary people, experts, officials, celebrities. "Kamp Katrina" features none of the fore-mentioned categories of people. Instead, it's all about extraordinaries, starting from Ms. Pearl, a woman of many costumes, who sets up a camp for the homeless Katrina survivors in her backyard, fourteen of them at one point. The survivors are what Jon Dee Graham would describe as strugglers: seriously down-on-their-luck (even pre-Katrina) sufferers of addictions, mental illnesses, abusers and the abused... Later on, on the bus back to my place, the catalog of strugglers continued, this time up close: the beyond-tired proletariat in dirty work clothes filled up the seats, and the bus ride ended up with a monologue of a very troubled young guy straight out of Cook county jail, not wearing a shirt really, putting the laces back into his shoes while complaining about not having a girlfriend and being depressed.