I'm headed to La Quinta, CA, tomorrow to prep for a speech I'm making there on Sept. 11. I chose that date from a list because a) it worked for me and b) it's time to make it just another day again. Not to forget that horrible tragedy--I lived through it myself while living in NYC and will NEVER FORGET WHAT I SAW--but rather to try and express a positive in the face of such a negative. So I'm giving a talk about the underworld, which can actually be a very positive place.
Each time I speak in public I think, "what would these people like most to hear?" A little like writing a blog; you know they probably only saw a few shows at best and they barely have a notion who I am. So I start scrolling through the shows in my head and all my experiences around the world, thinking them through, making notes, scribbling ideas. I end up thinking so much that, in the end, the same thing always happens: I just talk. And, you know, it works. Because the underworld is inherently intereresting it almost doesn't matter what I say.
This time I do know that I'm going to speak about Jacquo Silvertant, a fine gentleman who lives in The Netherlands, right at the border with Belgium. Jacquo is part of a team of guys who are trying hard to preserve the most AMAZING and extensive system of tunnels that run beneath the City of Maastricht. The Caestert Quarries. Miles and miles of ancient limestone quarries that became the subterranean quarters of a hidden sect of workers who worked out of sight of the local church hierarchy and were therefore perceived as a subversive threat. Their reaction seems to have been to dig even deeper. All through these epic spaces you can see the graffitti left from centuries of stone workers...and the religious men who came looking for them.
Please have a look around the links here for more info and some amazing pix of the spaces and the graffitti. Keep in mind, this is 15th century graffitti still preserved down there in the dark.
I am so impressed by Jacquo and his kind, these activists around the world who seek to preserve spaces we don't ever see. Jacquo wants to make it a World Heritage Site.