ibgybg productions presents:
Video of Performance
West 34th St, New York. December 9th, 2015. 2nd Camera: Jessica Kingdon.
What do you do on your birthday, full of fresh heartbreak?
I lay down on the sidewalk on 34th street in New York City, under a blanket, outside a closed down store called 'Bag Man' (slang for a homeless man), with a sign reading 'All the Rumours are True!! I make hundreds of $$ a day! I live in a better apartment than you!!!!' I remained there for about thirty minutes. A friend filmed it from across the street, and I filmed the feet of people walking by from under the blanket.
The amount of bodies splayed about, and the indifference to them, makes me sometimes feel like I'm in Medieval times during the plague, not modern day New York City ... A cop just the other day: "Oh, you'd be surprised, these people CHOOSE to live on the streets". I hear this all the time. Along with the rhetoric about how they are all scammers, and make tons of money, and go home to fancy apartments. Even the woman I talked to after I came out from under the blanket, who praised what I was doing, and said she'd heard people talk like this all the time, still couldn't help adding: 'BUT, there are some people ..."
If three quarters of the 56,000 people in NYC shelters are families, and almost half the population children, it may be time to bury the mythology, and stop avoiding the shame we should feel about carrying full shopping bags while stepping over mentally ill people lying on cardboard on the sidewalk in winter. Everyone does not have the same chances in life, people are not simply 'self-made', it is not simply 'their fault' when people end up destitute, only those with untreated mental illness would talk of 'choosing' the streets, and god has nothing to do with making people either homeless or millionaires.
The title refers to a Wall Street expression. Defined on Wiktionary and RationalWiki, respectively, as follows:
IBG YBG (finance) I'll be gone, you'll be gone. (I'll have gotten my commission; you'll have sold out to the next guy; neither of us will be held accountable).
IBGYBG (or I.B.G.-Y.B.G.) is an acronym for "I'll be gone, you'll be gone" and was a popular saying among the hedge fund managers who created the banking crisis of 2007-08. It refers to the many shitty deals and scams perpetrated by Wall Street on unsuspecting investors. Specifically, it means that the wheeler-dealers involved in the fraud plan to be on their yachts anchored off some private tropical island sipping cocktails before the shit hits the fan.