It's a rare thing when people are able to join together, united behind a common cause. In this case, the causes are Bernie Sanders and dancing. Lots of dancing. And they finally come together at a three-week party called "Bernie Man" that starts tomorrow.
Local promoter/real estate broker Cody Morrison didn't set out to create a massive series of political dance parties. A few weeks ago, he just thought he'd throw a little get-together where friends listen to records and chip in a few bucks to that yelling candidate with the fizzy hair. Cody started pulling together the event, friends RSVPed, then a few more people caught wind of it, and within a few days there were thousands of people interested in attending. Better order a few more hors d'oeuvres.
In fact, so many people want to dance while donating that the party has become a hydra: three separate music events spread out over three weeks and multiple venues.
"I don't know what a revolution feels like," Cody says. "Enough people have been disenfranchised in my lifetime that people are standing up and saying, 'Enough,' so if that's what a revolution is, then yeah."
The dance begins tomorrow, the 28th, spread between Kremwerk and Re-bar and featuring Natural Magic, Riz Rollins, Kadeejah Streets and many more. Then it's all live music (at the same venues) on November 4th: Tangerine, MASZER, Branden Daniel and The Chics, Marmalade, Fauna Shade, and so on. Then the following Wednesday it's hip-hop, R&B, house, and techno (Bernie's favorite style, let's assume) featuring The Physics, Gifted Lab, Sassyblack, WD4D, Pezzner, and more.
But how do you get tickets? Ah, that's where Bernie Man organizers have gotten clever. Part of Bernie's schtick is publicly resisting large donations (unless you're a labor PAC, in which case he'll gladly take your $100,000) so party-promoters won't be collecting checks and handing over a big lump sum. Instead, you'll need to donate $20 to Bernie's campaign yourself, and then bring your receipt for entry into one of the parties. Voila, instant grassroots!
"I haven't done very many political things in my life," says organizer Cody Morrison. "I've never attached myself to a campaign as far as being an organizer or volunteer. I vote in every election, but I haven't really been involved."
Awkwardly, in his day job as a broker, he finds himself spending a lot of time with conservatives — or at least, people who are more conservative than European-socialist Bernie Sanders. "It's weird to support a quote-unquote Socialist candidate," Cody says. "I work in a very capitalistic environment." (Prior to real estate, he was a professional baseball player.)
Something about Bernie just speaks to him. "The way that money has corrupted the political process, I feel like he's one of the candidates that really listens," says Cody. "He seems like he actually responds to his constituents." Cody cites education and military spending as areas in which his values and Bernie's overlap.
But maybe the overlap is strongest in their skill for gathering a crowd. With 2,300 people currently marked as "going" to Bernie Man, Cody's suddenly found himself in the unlikely position of a part-time political operative, drawing overwhelming masses of people in much the same way that Bernie's rallies do.
In that sense, Bernie represents something of a return to the fun days of the 2008 Obama campaign: remember all the house parties? The unofficial fundraisers? The volunteering? Back then, Obama didn't just represent political change, he was an icebreaker for connecting with other people in your community.
"If I feel motivated like I do with Bernie, I'll continue to do it," Cody says. "It's been really fun to bring people together like this."