Live on the Lawn

Sorry to start yet another thread on the Dancing Man Controversy, but this one's important and time-sensitive. Someone has answered the call for a dance-in. Be there tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5:30 and get your groove on! I understand that Bruce himself helped to organize this:

It's a Carrboro scandal...and Carrboro residents are dancing back...Wednesday, August 23, 5:30 pm... Weaver Street lawn…

In late July Carr Mill Mall manager Nathan Milian told Bruce Thomas, dancer extraordinaire, that he could no longer dance on the "private property" of Weaver Street Market's lawn. Read for a more complete story.

Today, August 22, Weaver Street Market and Carr Mill Mall put out a press release with their "solution" to this PR fiasco: a new program called "Live on the Lawn." These scheduled events will feature performers who apply at Weaver Street Market. These performances must meet "approval" by Carr Mill Mall. The press release says there "will be a limit of one performance per week per artist or group."

Personally, we don't dance once a week. We dance when we want to. We want Bruce to dance when and where he wants to. Please help us make this point: come TOMORROW, Wednesday, August 23, 5:30 pm. on the Weaver Street lawn to raise dust with Bruce Thomas, the community of Carrboro, the Rainbow ReSisters, the Carrboro Greenspace collective and you!

Bring your instruments. Bring your Weaver Street consumer owner card. Consider buying something at WSM tomorrow to prove your patronage. Bring your friends. Bring your dancing shoes!

-The Rainbow ReSisters, on behalf of all Carrboro residents

I am so thrilled to hear of people taking action on this! The craziest thing is that this attempt to stifle their own customers will only damage the very values (or perception of them) that bring people to Weaver Street Market and Carr Mill's lawn in the first place. This action will be bad for our community in the short term, but we can find other places and other ways to gather. The impact on WSM of not being our community center will be financial and could be dire.

For background, please see past postings:

7/28: Dancing May Return to Carr Mill Mall, where we learned about the dancing ban and expressed pretty much universal shock and outrage. Some tried (and failed) to connect the issue to actual problems Carr Mill has with crime and safety - none of which are addressed by the ban on "performing."

8/16: Leadership on Weaver Street, where we pointed out that Weaver Street Market is having elections for their Board of Directors soon. Frustration with the management of this supposedly-member-owned cooperative is not new.

8/22: The private press conference, where we learned of the new "Live on the Lawn" program in which Carr Mill and WSM attempt to limit and control their patrons' creativity. I live-blogged the event which was closed to the public. The official press release was posted in the comments.



I couldn't agree with Dan more, why do they need to control when people feel like dancing or stretching, and who will judge what movement is dance or just a long step...

Moreover, we all keep saying Carr Mill is within their rights, I suppose they are technically, but one of the most fundamentel problems in this country is that private property and corporations override the needs of democracy and community: Needs for public space, non commodified or otherwise controlled.

It really seems so absurd that a private entity can OWN one of the most public spaces in Carrboro, and that their need for control can override the right and desire of residents to enjoy open spaces as they like and need (especially because there are such few public spaces in this and most towns in the US). How can we continue to believe or claim we live in a "free and democratic" country, when individuals and corporations get to determine the very shape of our towns!?

Weaver Street is one of the main reasons people love Carrboro. This is not only because they can get good local groceries, but also, and perhaps even more so, because they can hang out without feeling like they are in a mall or some other commodified space, where our only right to use the space is if we pay or follow THEIR rules. Sure technically Carr Mill Mall and Nathan Milian own this patch of green that many of us frequent as if it were a town square, but what does it mean if one man, one corporation gets to change the entire experience of living in Carrboro!?

I know that this is private property, and that within the parameters of the law we the dancers are on the wrong side. But, I also know, that those laws are themselves only valid within certain parameters, the parameters of what a society and a people accept and establish as right. I would hope that the people of Carrboro would value their de-facto town square as a public commons to the degree of assuring that the laws are congruent with their collective wish.

Ironicly titled article in today's Herald-Sun "'Dancing man' gets go-ahead to go back on lawn".

Goes on to mention that it's only 1 hour, 1 day every week (of course with pre-approval).

Few comments I hadn't heard before:

"Milian said Thomas' dancing set a bad example; other performers would think they could use the lawn similarly and the place could become overrun with jugglers, magicians and other entertainers. "

" The new program will be effective Sept. 15; no performances on the lawn will be tolerated before then." (wonder how they'll deal with civil dance disobedience?)

"Apparently Vivian Spiral, who brings the hoops, is the exception to the new rule. Milian said as long as she is not selling the hoops, she may perform at official Weaver Street Market events. He declined to comment how Spiral's activities differed from Thomas' dancing. "

"There is no way to peace; peace is the way" - Mohandas Gandhi.
The proposed dance-in is not civil disobedience, it is confrontation politics which will serve only those who take pleasure in conflict. Here's another one:
"People completely identify with one side, one ideology .... Reconciliation is to understand both sides, to go to one side and describe the suffering being endured by the other side, and then to go to the other side and describe the suffering being endured by the first side. Doing only that will be a great help for peace." - Thich Nhat Hanh.
Confrontation is escalation; understanding is the way forward. Who has attempted to understand Nathan's difficult responsibilities in managing, on behalf of a private owner in a different state, what has increasingly become a public resource we all count on?
I for one shall not be at the dance-in.

Speaking as a Buddhist, I believe that conflict is healthy and sometimes even productive. I think Gandhi would agree. He used conflict quite skillfully in exposing and fighting injustice. And Thich Nhat Hanh has long advocated engaging in social issues rather than trying to transcend them.

Especially in this situation, in which no problem existed until Milian imposed the Bruce Ban, I think a simple show of community support for creative personal expression is extremely appropriate.

If it crosses over into personal insults, I would agree that's unhelpful either to dialogue or to an ultimate solution. But people need to remember that this conflict was created by the managers of Carr Mill and Weaver Street Market. The members who own WSM and the people of Carrboro (which has benefited WSM with various kinds of support over the years) have a special duty as well as the right to speak out about this.

The management could have announced that after a review of the policy they found the ban was a mistake and that things would go back to the way they were before. As it is, they are already making the lawn a less and less appealing place for me to spend my time and money.

The Owner

This link provides information on the owner of Carr Mill Investment Limited Partnership

One wonders whether newspaper reporters have contacted the president of this firm, whose name and firm's address up in Silver Spring, Md. are detailed at this link

This all seems so silly and needless to me. What has Bruce or any of the other artists done to make Nathan Milian persecute them? Whenever I pass the Lawn, all I see are beautiful examples of community diversity and the free expression and love that makes Carrboro so special. Why try to fix something that is not broken?

Ghandi was assassinated. I don't think his adversaries were interested in peace.

You assume the owners want to find a solution, or to understand the needs of the dancers. They have no interest in that. They want security and removal of liability.

There is a time and place for civil disobedience or, as Connie puts its, "confrontation". If there wasn't, we'd still be British. Thankfully, we have the right to peaceably assemble.

I see nothing wrong with what the Dance-Iners are doing, in fact I see it as the peaceable standing up for themselves.

Ruby, Nathan Milian does not work for Weaver Street Market, does not represent Weaver Street Market, never has done and has never claimed to, so telling me that Nathan instituted this policy in no way answers my question. I repeat, how this situation has in any way been created by the management of Weaver Street Market? If there's information out there that you have access to and I don't, then as a Board member I want to know.

"Never trust spiritual leader who cannot dance." ~Mr. Miyagi, The Next Karate Kid, 1994

"Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre."
Psalm 149:3, The Bible

(I think "timbrel" is an old word for hula hoop but I'm not sure - I think even God exempted hula hoops without explanation back in the old days).

"Let us read and let us dance--two amusements that will never do any harm to the world." - Voltaire

How about a dance-off like the Mardi Gras Indians? Let's get Nathan out there to dance next to Bruce and let the best dancer win... Now that would be a conflict!

"Thankfully, we have the right to peaceably assemble." on public property...

Ruby - "people need to remember that this conflict was created by the managers of Carr Mill and Weaver Street Market"

Can you explain how this situation has in any way been created by the management of Weaver Street Market?

The most telling comment from Nathan appears in the Chapel Hill News: "I've been wanting to manage use of the lawn for some time."

James, Bruce has been dancing on the lawn for years. He was asked to stop by Nathan (the management). That's when the community had a problem, not before.

I'm conflicted on this.

There seems to be an overwhelming majority feeling here on this, so I suppose it will be better to vet out the opposing view:

This doesn't seem like civil disobedience to me. The term relates to protesting the rule of law, in other words government--and not business. This is important, I think, to distinguish what is going on.

My first problem is that there is a lot of talk that this policy only hurts WSM and the other shops. This rings hollow to me. If it were true, then it would be far easier to pressure them economically by boycotting their businesses until the policy changes. I went last weekend and the place was as busy as ever--most customers don't care enough about this for it to adversely effect the businesses like some would propose.

My second problem is that the pretense of civil disobedience is ironic in face of the legitimate law in place. The land owners are following the law by placing rules. In fact, it has been suggested that this rule may be to limit liability--a direct result of the laws in place. There is a solution in the present law (no need to protest to change the law): eminent domain. If the masses truly want that space to be public open space...well then buy it. You could buy it privately, or you could get your government to buy it. Open space for dancing or hula hoops is a public use, so it's all good.

Essentially, I'm turned off by mob rule. I'm even more disheartened because I think the mob is much smaller than it thinks (by the steady business still done at Carr Mill).

OK Jim, instead of calling it "civil disobedience" call it "shareholder advocacy." Our capitalist economy is based on the premise that consumers make informed choices. As a co-op member ("owner") of WSM and as a very frequent customer, I think I am not only allowed to but obligated to express my concerns.

1. Ruffin Slater, as WSM Manager, supported the ban instituted by Nathan Milian (as far as I know, please inform if otherwise).

2. The new "Live on the Lawn" program is a joint program of carr Mill and Weaver Street Market, announced by both Nathan and Ruffin, and is staffed by WSM.

It is not "Mob Rule" to protest a policy or law that you feel is unjust. IF the people who disagree with Carr Mill mall management share a minority opinion then they have just as much right to dance as a "majority" has to shop. These are important tenants of democracy.

Personally I'm disgusted with those that would put property law and profit before the right to assemble, not to be discriminated upon because of your race, and harmless free creative expression.

I'm reposting the press release here so we can refer to it directly in this thread. What bothers me most about this is that whoever is driving this whole process has yet to be open and honest about why Bruce was singled out in the first place (and is still being called out by name in the official press release!) and exactly what problems are being solved by cracking down on creative use of the lawn.

The community has long enjoyed the lawn in front of Weaver Street Market as a gathering place for Weaver Street Market events and Carrboro events such as the 4th of July Parade. Now Carr Mill Mall is adding another element to the list of lawn offerings: hourly slots where musicians, dancers, jugglers, and magicians can showcase their talents before a live audience. Carr Mill Mall manager Nathan Milian said the program, called “Live on the Lawn,” would serve as an outlet for artists wishing to share their work with the general public, free of charge to both the artist and the public. “We recognize the community's desire for places of artistic expression,” said Milian, “and we are pleased that Carr Mill can provide such a place.”

Weaver Street Market and Carr Mill Mall worked together to design the program. “The program provides another way for the community to benefit from the lawn,” said Weaver Street Market general manager Ruffin Slater. “In addition to Weaver Street's regular Thursday night and Sunday morning events, this program creates more opportunities for music and performance events,” Slater said.

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton applauded Carr Mill's use of the lawn for events. “The lawn is the center of our downtown,” said Chilton, “and this program indicates Carr Mill's commitment to use the lawn for the good of the community.”

Weaver Street Market will coordinate the program on behalf of Carr Mill Mall. Performers will apply at Weaver Street, and the Market will schedule the performances with the approval of Carr Mill. Performances will be scheduled on weekday evenings and weekends to respect the needs of the office tenants above Weaver Street Market. There will be a limit of one performance per week per artist or group.

The lawn in front of Weaver Street Market is part of the common area owned by Carr Mill Mall. Milian manages Carr Mill on behalf of the owners. “Carr Mill owners are very community minded.” Milian said, “we have worked hard to develop a program that satisfies the needs of everyone to the best of our ability.”

Milian said that Bruce Thomas, who he had previously asked not to dance on the lawn, would be welcome to apply to perform as part of the “Live on the Lawn” program.

Ruby, I have still seen no information forthcoming from you or any other source that any representative of Weaver Street Market has in any way supported the Carr Mill policy in question. Not Ruffin Slater, nor anyone else in WSM management, or governance, or employees. The new program is an undertaking by WSM which is designed to alleviate the situation, not to support it. The program would clearly be meaningless had it not been found acceptable by Carr Mill management: this is the meaning of the phrase "working together". You should study the concept.

"This doesn't seem like civil disobedience to me. The term relates to protesting the rule of law, in other words government–and not business. This is important, I think, to distinguish what is going on." Jim wrote

ummm, the problem is in our society businesses and corporations are able to essentially buy laws and power... that is of the main things at stake here in my opinion. I mean we have seen cases of imminent domain used agains private landowners in favor of businesses and corporations, not vice versa... how has private property and profit become more important than community and freedom of expression!?

As for the economics: no one had planned or organized a boycott yet because we were hoping that Carr Mill Mall and Weaver St. would rethink their decision, that doesn't mean a boycott won't happen now that their idea of a solution has been made public.

Forgive me if this shows the ignorance of an outsider but has there been any thought or discussion of Carrboro buying the lawn? Or leasing it? Its seem that the space plays the role of town square and one would think that the town should own it. I assume the price would be rather exorbitant though, considering the real estate values in the area.

It seems to me that it is very important to have contact with the owner of Carr Mill Mall, not just the management.

This link provides information on the owner of Carr Mill Investment Limited Partnership

The president of the firm that owns the Mall property is Paul Greenberg, of Greenberg Realty Co, Silver Spring Md.:

Greenberg Realty Co
8720 Georgia Ave # 502
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 495-7800

Has anybody in authority (or with the newspapers) made contact with him? Do he and his firm know about what is going on? Do
they have an opinion? Can they be somehow persuaded?

On some of the other threads we've discussed the town buying the lawn and many other ideas. One problem of such a big conversation is the details being lost.

For starters Ruby doesn't owe you or anyone else an answer. So if she doesn't respond in 1 minute, 10 minutes, or 10 years then deal with it. I have a feeling she'll let you know how she feels tho'. :)

In my opinion Ruffin Slater, and thus WSM by proxy, is complicit for staying silent and not speaking out about this from the onset. I shared some ideas on why this may be the case. (in all honesty this could just be rumor.) It is sad that WSM has become guilty by association for Ruffin Slater's non action. But there is a simple way to fix all this. Slater can stand up and say this whole thing is wrong and LET BRUCE DANCE!

After waiting a month for the wait-and-see what Nathan does approach to run its course, the dance-in is FINALLY announced. At 10:30 one night with the intention of having people there at 5:30 the next day.
I would be there with bells on and friends and their kids to boot, but a fair number of us will be at a kid's birthday party. Not the kind of thing you really cancel at the last minute.
Already, people on this post are saying that the people who care may be a minority even if they don't think so.
Announcing an event with less than 24 hours notice is NOT the way to get a representative group of people together.

Aside from the poor planning though, I say - Dance On People !

Brian, Ruby has made the so-far-unsupported allegation in her post early this morning that Weaver Street Market management was somehow complicit in creating this policy of Carr Mill management. Yesterday she claimed to be a journalist. I am asking that she the accept the ethical responsibilities of that title and either provide evidence for the allegation, or offer a retraction. And yes, I am owed this, and so are all the other readers of Orange Politics.

In fact, insofar as a cloud of misinformation has surrounded this thread largely as a result of such unfounded claims, an apology from Ruby as moderator would also be nice. Propagating rumors, whether malicious or just plain dumb, is what gives bloggers a bad name. Is it any surprise that mainstream journalist are reluctant to credit them as sources?

Since the guy who wrote "Civil Disobedience" advocated following one's conscience when it ran afoul of the law, to the point of breaking the law, I fail to see how the "they're-following-the-law!" argument disqualifies this action as civil disobedience. If anything, it's the laws governing property ownership and the division of the private from the commons that are central in this debate; the action today is in disobedience of those laws. Laws governing private property and the actions of private property owners are not excluded from the class of onerous laws conscience calls on one to break. That's my reading of the little book, anyway.

That said, I'm glad I'm 800 miles away. I know for a _fact_ some of you can't dance.

I imagine WSM's position in this is a rather uncomfortable one. Tenants are generally not in a position to "stand up" to their landlords.

I am not sure what aspect of Ruby's comment is being understood as a rumor or false allegation. Ruffin Slater has agreed to and endorsed the new "Live on the Lawn" program... his name is on the press release, he is facilitating through WSM the program itself, this seems to suggest cooperation and complicity.... he and WSM had other options... including asking consumer-owners to use their own consumer power to pressure Milian. and/or refusing to be the one to enforce such a thing...

( Even the threat of a boycott of all Carr Mill shops properties might force Milian to act differently without hurting businesses themselves....)

Thanks for this discussion. I would like to bring up another point about the proposed Dance In for Bruce this evening.

I shop at Weaver Street, hang out there when I have time, and think it generally a very important place. I live just a block away and wish I could shop there for all of my groceries actually because the store is co-operatively owned, supports ethical growers and manufacturers, and fosters community by sponsoring public events for its patrons. I especially liked its support of May Day this past year.

While I think public self expression is important, sometimes I feel uncomfortable when I pass by it on WSM's lawn. I have been known to hoola hoop and dance and jump and do fairly bizarre things. But sometimes, just sometimes, I think it all a bit much that so many people have the time to do this and do it all for fun and its spirit. It DOES seem to be just that: for fun and spirituality. While I do not know the nature of Nathan's problem with Bruce and feel that it is possible that Bruce is being singled out, I would not want it on my lawn, personally, that is, if I actually owned any land or property. At times I would go as far as to say that WSM lawn looks a bit like a circus on Thursday evenings. Not that I don't go to the circus in Raleigh every year - I do - but sometimes it is all just bit too indulgent for my taste.

I would not write about my problem unless I cared about WSM and its goals. I really care. The support for Bruce is important, but, I don't want us to lose sight of what WSM is about. Isn't it *also* about responsible consumerism, conservation, and ethical capitalism? If WSM is to be taken seriously, the lawn environment is helping in some ways but it's hurting in a way, too, possibly giving some people the impression that we haven't advanced past the "hippie" stereotype that I truly believe WSM surpasses in its mission statement and practices. WSM isn't *only* about self expression.

For example, the shooting at Avalon dance club occured in the same week that Bruce's banning was publicized, and was the very next posting on, but it didn't raise nearly as much discussion as the "let the man dance" discussion did. But if ethical capitalism and fostering (safe) community were really the issue, I doubt the two would be seen as separate issues.

To be clear, I'm glad people are making an issue about the dancing man because oppression of creativity is bad in general. But, overall, I wholeheartedly agree with WIll about this being a lesson and personally, I'm going to keep it at that and do something else tonight. We should all seriously consider buying this space as Jackie Gist suggested early on. More people care about the space than I originally thought.

I know this is long-winded and I apologize.

So...let's say a 5-year-old kid starts spinning around in circles and generally having a great time out on the Carr Mill lawn. Maybe a couple of others join in. One of them sings a little. Do they get busted? It seems like a silly question, but at some point it ceases to be. 12 years old? 17? When do playing children become transgressors? It's an impossible rule to enforce in a way that would not breed even more antagonism.

Seems to me that if I were teaching Public Relations 101 this whole episode would be a great case study. The reality is that no matter how good and decent and generous and likable the principals are, (and I have no reason to believe they are not,) the method of making this decision and issuing it appears to have been inept, not malicious.

And yet, we have every reason to believe that all concerned thought long and hard about how to do it right. No one wants to antagonize even a part of a community. There is nothing unforeseen or unforeseeable about the publicity that this has drawn and will draw.

Let's hope the dance-in promotes some re-thinking and communication rather than reflexive digging-in of heels.


I thought your question was already answered. I suppose it depends on what a person means by "complicit." I understand that Ruffin Slater was a signatory to the press release, and that this "Live on the Lawn" program will be managed by WSM. If the policy of Carr Mill Management is that you _may_ dance (or vibrate, spin, stand on your head, play your guitar) on the lawn once a week so long as you sign up for time first, and WSM is the organization that manages and (one assumes) enforces that policy, then I think it's not a stretch to say that WSM is "complicit in creating this policy of Carr Mill," especially when Carr Mill's own press release says that "Weaver Street Market and Carr Mill Mall worked together to design the program." One person's "complicity" is another person's "cooperation," but in no case (as you say) is this new program merely an "undertaking by WSM." Let's be clear: it is Carr Mill's policy, implemented and enforced with the cooperation of WSM.

Complicity, cooperation, whatever. The fact is that people are unhappy not just with the original performance ban, which seemed aimed at one person, but also with this new program. And, moreover, they're expressing some frustration that their co-op has failed to defend adequately what they perceive as a custom and tradition of peacefully using that space for expression, and are participating in a program that can only have the effect of discouraging spontaneity and freedom. I imagine it is especially disappointing to people who have been long-time members of the co-op, have spent untold amounts of money there to support a kind of store they believe in, only to find out that they can't get a straight answer out of WSM leadership about its involvement in the original ban and the subsequent bureaucratic, unspontaneous "program."

All the more reason to jump in your biodiesel vehicles and head on down to the Chatham Marketplace!

This surely is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. The lawn IS private property. We are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy visiting with friends and seeing live music there. But for some reason, folks feel the need to come out and annoy the rest of us with their antics. Why can't this guy get the dancing out of his system at his own home or on his lawn. Try going to University Mall, Southpointe, or hanging out in front of another grocery store, act like that, and see what happens. This behavior is definitely attention-based. It's obvious that the landlords have had all they can take. Is it the end of the world that he can't dance in front of us while we're trying to read the newspaper and enjoy a cup of coffee? Why is he feeling like a victim? It is he who has caused all of this strife. Just dance elsewhere, the other 99.9% of us understand that.

James Morgan of the WSM Board, I'm sorry that you are not satisfied with my answers, but until you point out what about them is inaccurate I can only take your charges to be a diversionary tactic which I don't care to indulge or further acknowledge.

Feel free to state your own opinion and to disgree with mine (preferably without attacking me) just like everyone else does. :-)

FYI all, here's a press release from the dance-in organizers:


TUESDAY, AUGUST 22, 2006 Michal Osterweil, 919 225 3433 Mary Bratsch, 919 357 3518

*** Wednesday 23 August 5:30 pm** Weaver Street Market Lawn ***

Community members consider this a Carrboro scandal,
and Carrboro residents are dancing back.

Carrboro, Orange County—In late July Carr Mill Mall manager Nathan Milian told Bruce Thomas that he could no longer dance on the “private property” of Weaver Street Market's lawn. Since that time, Carrboro residents have been discussing this mandate, what for most feels like a violation of their shared, public space. (For more details, please refer to the OrangeCountyPolitics story at Following Thomas' example, on Wednesday, August 23, Carrboro residents will respond with dance.

On Tuesday, August 22, 2006, Weaver Street Market and Carr Mill Mall released a press release with their “solution” to this issue: a new program called “Live on the Lawn.” These scheduled events will feature performers who apply at Weaver Street Market. The performances will take place pending “approval” by Carr Mill Mall. The press release says there “will be a limit of one performance per week per artist or group.” Several residents of Carrboro feel that this type of scripted performance does not hold true to the spirit of Carrboro. Michal Osterweil, a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, remarks, “Technically Carr Mill Mall and Nathan Milian do own and manage this patch of green that many of us frequent as if it were a town square. But what does it mean if one man, one corporation, gets to change the entire experience of living in Carrboro?”

Also in Tuesday's press release (available by request at Weaver Street Market), Milian says that the owners he represents “are very community minded.” Carrboro residents question this commitment to the community of Carrboro when the owners demand that a respected member of Carrboro curb his passion for dancing. Bruce Thomas, while respecting the rights of Carr Mill Mall's owners, nevertheless asks, “What happened to freedom of expression and freedom of speech? They tell us when we can and when we cannot move our bodies and how we can move our bodies…if you take the freedom of our bodies, then what is next? You say we are the land of the free? This doesn't sound like freedom to me.”

Wednesday evening's events will include dancing on the lawn, cheerleading by the Rainbow ReSisters Radical Cheerleading Troupe, and petitions to Weaver Street Market by its consumer-owners to reconsider its position.

WHEN: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at 5:30 pm
WHERE: Weaver Street Market Lawn, 101 E. Weaver Street, Carrboro
CONTACTS: Michal Osterweil, 919 225 3433 (mosterweilATmacDOTcom)
Mary Bratsch, 919 357 3518 (maryebratschATyahooDOTcom)

BTW, the "Live on the Lawn" ( or licensed-for-the-lawn) applications are still not available though a sign-up sheet is...

BG, I caught maybe the 1st unlicensed lawn dancer yesterday...

Inaccurate: Ruby, posting 8.48 this morning: “people need to remember that this conflict was created by the managers of Carr Mill and Weaver Street Market”

Inaccurate: Ruby, posting 12.03 this afternoon: "Ruffin Slater, as WSM Manager, supported the ban instituted by Nathan Milian."

Ruffin Slater worked to alleviate this situation, never to create or support it.

Not by my defition, as explained above. But I don't mind if you don't see it my way. This will be my last response to you until you present new information, James.


I have several things to add to this discussion.

My daughter and I have both danced with Bruce on the lawn. And, we would be there tonight in support, but this dance-in coincides with Meet-the-Teacher picnics at the Carrboro-Chapel Hill schools. So, many of his biggest little fans can't be there tonight. I did wonder what might happen the next time Maggie dances. Will she be ticketed? She's only 4 and not likely to apply for a permit.

I don't think spending money at Weaver Street is the way to make a point about this, though. I think NOT spending money at any of the Carr Mill businesses would be a far more effective way of getting the point across.

After the protest tonight, walk up the street and get something to eat or drink at another restaurant. Surprise the owners of the newly opened Mill Town bar and restaurant. Isn't that the point? If Weaver Street Market and Carr Mill don't appreciate who their customers are, I bet there are some other places in town that would welcome them.

We've started going to EarthFare on Friday nights 6-9 for live music, good food and wine, and inviting friends to do the same. I realize you can't walk there from downtown, and I'm sad about that. But, it's a similar experience, the breeze is picking up on the patio, tables and chairs for everyone, lights strung under the umbrellas — and so far no one has minded us dancing or playing in the fountain.


OK, I give up. It's like we're talking a different language. I'll end with someone else's words - Bo Lozoff, whose Human Kindness Foundation is responsible for our being blessed with Bruce's presence in this community in the first place.

"Every great spiritual, philosophic and religious tradition has emphasized compassion, reconciliation, forgiveness and responsibility. These are not suggestions, they are instructions. If we follow them we will thrive, if not we will suffer."

>“Thankfully, we have the right to peaceably assemble.” on
>public property…
>Comment at 10:46am 8/23/2006 by WillR

Intersesting, I don't see those last three words on my copy of the Bill of Rights.

Nor do I see anywhere in the Constitution any Right to Property or Privacy.


I'm posting some pics on flickr tagged: wsmdancein

Information (can be) Liberation

1. One of the principles of negotiation is information. I've suggested getting information about the Carr Mill Mall's ownership here, including their take on things. Perhaps they do not fully understand the situation, such that a cogent, accurate, and diplomatic explanation to the president of the firm could get results stemming from what most reasonable people I believe would consider a dose of common sense. Mabye the local management is acting unilaterally, perhaps not. Maybe they have not fully explained the situation to the owner. There is a need to know.

(Further, perhaps the president of Greenberg Realty Company, Inc. does not know, for example, that the ACLU has been sniffing around; and that the Washington Post might be getting wind of this, as well. This is information, the sharing of which, could be helpful to all concerned.)

2. Other information that may be significant: somebody needs to go back and understand fully the relationship(s) between Carr Mill Mall and the Town, from the beginning.

Way back when, as I recall, there was a movement afoot to tear down Carr Mill Mall. Common sense prevailed and it was saved....but how? and with any sorts of agreeements that could have bearing on today's situation?

For example, if certain tax incentives were granted the owner as incentive for upgrading and keeping Carr Mill Mall, was anything granted in return from the owner besides simply agreeing to keep it open in some form? Would the lawn have been part of any discussion/agreement? This was before the internet, so it will be necesary to go back through the old Chapel Hill News, as well as all Town documents pertaining to Carr Mill Mall. (There are likely some dusty boxes archived somewhere.) This was before the memory of many of the players involved, and such things tend to be forgotten, for various reasons. Somebody needs to really dig here, taking nothing for granted. There might be something there.

I was just late enough to catch the final words, the final dance, and to miss a doctor's appointment. Doh!

I think my son was more upset at missing the dancing than was I.

Nice photos and a great neologism in the tags: civildancedisobedience.

I was at the Dance-In tonight, although I was sitting on the sidelines in my orthopedic boot (klutzy middle-aged guys should avoid ten-year-old little girls when they're learning to use a skateboard).

I find it amazing that anybody could describe tonight as a confrontation. Even the uniformed security guy was smiling as he watched from under the portico.

And James Morgan, instead of the defensiveness, why don't you respond to your fellow coop members' concerns here? Or at least offer some notion of sympathetic understanding.

WSM in Southern Village, WSM in Hillsborough. I honestly think it's great to see the coop spreading out, but it seems a little more attention to WSM on Weaver Street might be in order.

I am an new citizen of Chapel Hill, and in the 3 months that I have been here, it has become a routine of my family to come to Carrboro WSM and spend time and / or money on a Thursday or Sunday. I find the odd folks that congregate there a welcome atmosphere, and was delighted the first time I saw Bruce dance. That has been one of the reasons I have enjoyed coming back. When it comes time for us to purchase a home in the next year, I am seriously considering staying in this area, as opposed to moving to a cheaper location in, say Durham, or elsewhere.

But this turn of events makes me wonder whether the free-thinking, and open-minded attitude and atmosphere that I find here is actually being fostered, or am I just disillusioned to think that the 'character' here is really different than anywhere else, compared to, say, in Fayetteville, where we recently left.

I doubt this will affect my decision to buy a house in this area, (because I really do think that the 'character' here is different). But if this 'live-on-the-lawn' empty placation actually stands as the rule, it will most definately affect my decision to make WSM and CMM a place where I spend my time, (and thus my money).

On a side note, as a property owner and landlord myself, I DO listen to my tenants. If it weren't for them, I would have a huge liability on my hands. So, to say the business owners are powerless in this case, is not quite true.

Just my 2 cents. (adjusted for inflation)

Lots of cameras and microphones at the Dance-In. Here is a round up of the media reports I've found so far. Add more if you find them.

Protesters fight for the right to boogie, N&O

Protest held for dancing man, WCHL 1360, MP3

Dance revolution, Daily Tar Heel

Somebody mentioned the importance of information. We need to see the initial complaints that prompted this action. Who exactly complained? How many complaints? What exactly were they complaining about? And what is the "complaint policy" for Carr Mill Mall? (Can a couple of people having a bad day grouse a little and cause something like this? Or is there an actual process for acting on complaints?)

The major act of civil disobedience that defined the activity in the US was a sit-in at a private business (Woolworths) that, by discriminating, was acting within the bounds of the law as it was understood at the time. The action was directed not only at the federal government, but, more directly, at Woolworth's consumers in the northern states. So, of course, civil disobedience can be directed at a private business like Car Mill Mall.

A long term solution is to close Weaver Street on that block and make that a legitimate public space. Ruby said, in another thread,that the mall manager believes this will kill retail in the area. Huh? As a Carrboro resident, who drives a bit more than many posters on this site (and also goes to WSM nearly every day), I never ever drive down that block, which sucks for cars. I use Estes Road and 54 to get out of town. To access downtown Carrboro, I park at Harris Teeter or one of the municipal lots on Main street.

More generally, I reject the notion that shopping malls are private spaces which can be policed at the will of the owners. They consume huge amounts of resources, and require elaborate cooperation of town and city governments for the pursuit of private profit. If they are to be regarded as private property, they should be taxed to the point where they are driven out of business and replaced by something else. Indeed, legal scholars are by no means united on the idea that they can clearly control what goes on inside their property, although the courts in the US have been in a particularly reactionary mood on business v. public issues in the last couple of decades. Not only Car Mill, but Southpoint as well should be a site for dancing, petitions, begging, evangelizing, etc. These are the places where the public hangs out, and our democracy gets suffocated when the only places to meet the public is on Franklin St in front of the Post Office.

Excellent points, Steve!

BTW, I've added my photos to the wsmdancein tag in So now you can see mine and WillR's and add your own to



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