It’s been three years since Mike Myers and Mario Batali were on the Fountain Plaza playing ping pong with men in black guarding the door to the Arch as the pair (and a crew) went up to the top and waved to passers-by.
Well, that footage has finally been released and formatted into a show on Hulu by the chef called “The High Road with Mario Batali.” You get to see more of the inside of the Arch, the stairs, a sort of hallway within, and the ‘door’ that leads to the outside at the top.
At the time, it was a bit shrouded in mystery. The Parks Department didn’t answer questions about it and Batali’s publicist said it was for “a private Internet webisode project” and she couldn’t say anything more.
In this eight minute segment, Batali asks questions of the actor and comedian, interspersed with footage in and on top of the Arch and a lot of the ping pong match.
Mike Myers surprised me with his refreshing responses. This interchange in particular:
What is your dream for the way the world might change in our lifetime?
There’s two parts to it. One, a cure for alzheimer’s would be great. And two, a shift towards a system of government that creates a level playing field for opportunities to not just be given to the children of the very rich but anybody who has an idea… sort of a meritocracy. That’s the big paradigm shift I would love. The idea that we want to get as many people into the system – and feeling that they can benefit from the system – as possible.
The most strident form of theater is known as agitating propaganda. Agitate, educate, and organize – that’s the goal of it.
The way you agitate – you’re a good entertainer. You think about everything — that the seats be comfortable and there is air conditioning. The next part of it is that the price point is reasonable… that the jokes be super funny and you care about the plight of the worker whose fallen into the machinery and the family that has to deal with it. That’s the agitation part of it. Then, if you get their heart, you can get their mind and then you can educate. Once those things have happened, then you can organize them. (ed. Note: Batali smiles slightly at this point. Workers have had issues with Batali in his restaurants – he seems to acknowledge the idea.)
This is our job – grab people by the heart, fuse it with the brain and get them to be participating in the system.
I love that there is someone in the public eye thinking this way and talking about it. It feels so rare, no? Batali is for sure a controversial figure – as I noted, workers in his restaurant have had issues with him. But they kept Myers’ comments in the segment. These are worthwhile things to think about and enact.
I didn’t remember that there were plants growing from the Arch! Note the greenery.
Photos : Cathryn
* * *
Previously at Washington Square Park Blog: