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Okay. I want to ask a question first.
You really haven't discussed at all how the concept of Bread and Roses
as an integrated, massive project developed.
What do you mean?
Well, you had for years and years and years all kinds of cultural
programming at 1199. At some point you have reached here a kind of
a taking off point, that represents a real --
A big jump.
A real change. Right, it represents a real quantum leap ahead.
What I'm wondering about is, what was the thinking process that led
you to decide to take this leap? Where did the whole idea of Bread and
Roses -- as I've said, as an integrated, massive effort which would
involve hundreds of thousands of dollars -- develop? Because the stuff
you'd been doing before wasn't nearly at that level, obviously.
No. You see, what we had been doing before was very
innovative. It was very unusual -- no other unions had done it. But it
was very modest, the funding was very very very minimal. If we had
theatre programs, the performers virtually did it gratis. If we had -- or
they got a hundred dollars for a night. We had an exhibition in the
gallery. The artist said, “I want to exhibit.” Everything was done on
that low budget basis.
Now, when I heard -- and I think I've gone over it -- when I heard that
the endowments were interested in a prototype in the labor
movement, and they said to me, “You ought to do this,” it immediately
seemed to me that this was a natural for us. We didn't know that it
would work in the sense that we would get it, but it was certainly
worth a crack. The more interest that they showed, the more I became
interested in it, and the more excited I became about it. So that what
happened -- and I have a tendency to do this anyway. I have a
tendency to embroider a good thing. It's never enough to say, “Okay.
This is what we're going to do.” But once you decide that this is what
you're going to do, I start thinking about it. I said, “Well, if we can do
this, we can do that too.” So we keep building on top of the thing.
That's what happened in Bread and Roses.
So that once the endowment said, “We're interested,” I said, “The sky
is the limit” in terms of we're limited by our imagination! Really not
only by our imagination. Because I firmly believe that ideas are very
easy to get. It's very easy to put a group of people in a room like this
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