Children run barefoot through the late afternoon light. Their shadows stretch before them like stilt-walkers at the circus. Chalk trails in pastel arcs down the bitumen behind them, circling the well-worn couches and chairs arranged on the roadside.
There’s several people squeezed onto the couch. Their heads loll on one another’s shoulders. Their feet entwine. They pass a mug of chai from hand to hand.
The verandah before them has been converted into a stage, with drum kit, guitar, and base. The music reaches a raucous climax. The children dance. The crowd raises their chai mugs and cooee. The pot plants on the stairs tremor.
Further up the street stalls sell second-hand clothes, photographs, and Afghani sweets. There’s a pet parrot in a bucket of chalk. Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ is dramatised to a muted soundtrack. Strangers massage each other’s feet. Two girls stand in a laundry basket hurling jokes at passers by.
You can write a letter to asylum seekers in detention, learn the art of unicycling, or try your hand at fermentation. Occupy Brisbane’s got a spot of sidewalk, and so does the woman who sells accessory ears, antlers, and tails made from bright fabrics.
The shivaree of live music, talk, cooking, and dancing travels up from verandahs, backyards, and basements. It seduces you into these spaces. It begs you to cross the threshold into someone’s home; take a seat in their backyard, join the party. It asks you to treat this street as your own.
Most of the street’s houses have opened their doors for the celebration, and you hear more than one person remark how nice to is to just drop in, to visit neighbours, to feel welcome in a stranger’s house. The boundaries of public and private living blur. Community, so often reduced to a conceptual buz-word, is enacted. It is embodied. It becomes a reality.
You think of how someone, perhaps quoting someone else, once told you, “to create positive change, you must first bring the people together”. You must create a real sense of community.
This is the Laura Street Festival, doing just that.
To discover the wonders of Laura Street Festival check out http://laurastreetfestival2012.weebly.com/
For more Laura Street fun, get involved in some of the community activities captained by the crew at Turnstyle: http://turnstyle.org.au/
* All photos in this post were taken by Me, and are property of Me. So please contact Me with any qualms (eg. if you do not want your image to appear on this blog), or if you would like to flatter Me and reproduce the images. Regards, Me.