Honoring love, liberty & radical history

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GUILFORD — The Kopkind Colony kicks off its 20th anniversary summer sessions on Sunday, July 14, with an eye to two other key dates - Stonewall 50 and the 95th anniversary of one of America's greatest writers. "James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket" will be the featured film at Kopkind's annual Potluck and Movie Night at the Organ Barn in Guilford, followed by discussion with special guest, writer and activist Kenyon Farrow.

"Kopkind has always been about convergences. How can you think about politics without culture, freedom without art, class without race, labor without sex, death without life?" JoAnn Wypijewski, president of Kopkind's board, says about the project, which since 1999 has brought together writers, activists and filmmakers for weeklong seminar/retreats. "Andy Kopkind contained multitudes, as Walt Whitman said (his 200th birthday is this year, too), and across 20 years, in discussions, workshops and public forums, we have strived to do the same. For this summer's opening free public event, we honor those multitudes in the figure of James Baldwin, a gay man, a black man, an artist, a passionate voice for personal, political and historical honesty. A genius who spoke to the deepest questions of humanity, which necessarily involve love."

Kopkind had been part of the movement of people who came `up the country' in the late '60s and early '70s, founding communes, and themselves, in southern Vermont. He made Tree Frog Farm a place for smart conversation, political thinking and a lot of fun for a cross-section of people. After Kopkind died in 1994, his loved ones decided to honor his memory by encouraging the storytellers, sense-makers and social activists of the present. In 1999, the Kopkind Colony brought its first group of political journalists and organizers to Tree Frog Farm.

This summer's opening Kopkind session, organized around the theme Democratizing the Economy and the Question of Freedom, will bring together media makers and activists engaged in advancing alternative ideas toward a cooperative, solidarity economy.

Movie Night, a tradition since 1999, begins at 5:30 p.m. with a potluck cook-out outside the Organ Barn, 158 Kopkind Road. Kopkind provides the main fare and asks people to bring a side dish. The screening follows.

Farrow, who will speak and lead the discussion after, is senior editor at TheBody.com and former executive director of Queers for Economic Justice.

The second free public event of the session will be a talk by historian Peter Linebaugh at Everyone's Books in downtown Brattleboro at 6 p.m. Friday, July 19, on his new book about capitalism and the commons, "Red Round Globe Hot Burning: A Tale at the Crossroads of Commons & Closure, of Love & Terror, of Race & Class, and of Kate & Ned Despard."

For more information, contact jwyp@earthlink.net, stonewal@sover.net, or 802.254.4859.

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