On December 16th, the eve of OWS’s three-month anniversary, some two hundred people came to 20 Jay Street to celebrate the launch for Occupy! Scenes from Occupied America. Occupy! is a collaborative new book out from small press Verso, whose sprawling 10th floor Brooklyn loft hosted the event. The book is based off of n+1’s OWS-inspired Gazette.
Astra Taylor greeted at the door. One of the main editors for n+1’s Gazette, Ms. Taylor explained that after visiting Zucotti Park on September 17th, the first day of OWS, she hooked up with Keith Gessen, n+1’s founding editor, and developed a core group of people interested in writing about the movement.
“I did a lot of writing and commissioning for writing,” Ms. Taylor said. “It occupied my life.”
According to Jacob Stevens of Verso, n+1 offered “Exponentially the best writing on the movement.” Stevens approached the editors to see about collaborating on a book, and an impressive six weeks later, Occupy! was born.
The first two n+1 Gazettes form the basis of Occupy!, along with some additional contributions. According to Ms. Taylor, the writing was meant not to be rhetoric, but was meant to come from someone situated in the movement, someone sympathetic.
“When I first started handing out the Gazette, people were offering me $10 a copy when it was free,” she said. “The zeitgeist of OWS is print. It seemed appropriate to have a text-based project.”
The Gazette trilogy was laid out on a side table, distinguished by primary colors — red for the first issue, blue for the second, and green for the third. Scenes from Zucotti Park projected against a white wall. The Occupy! book lay on a different table, on sale for $5 a copy. Most people were nursing $2 Brooklyn Lagers, two-stepping across the floor in various versions of the same leather boot. There was no food, but people seemed happy. A DJ played music so loudly that a group of girls started dancing in the middle of the room.
Over four hours all two-hundred plus books were sold. An Occupier wearing barefoot shoes was thinking of purchasing a copy, but not for himself. “I don’t think I’ll have time to read it,” he said, “but my mom will.”
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