Founded in 2001, the Love Everybody Movement creates one-time-only events that include performances, spectacle, stunts and feats that promote love, fun, and community for both participants and viewers. The Love Everybody Movement also makes puppets, costumes, objects, installations, videos, publications, merchandise, and accessories.
“I Need You” was a 40-hour Love Everybody Movement performance event that took place in March 2005. Below is the letter inviting people to participate.
-There are times in our lives when we are drawn uncontrollably to some dangerous source of misery.-
Suzi Thibeault, in a letter to David Horton during his conquest of the Appalachian Trail: 2,144 miles in
52 days, 9 hours, 41 minutes.
I realize it will not surprise you that I am keenly interested in misery, suffering and endurance. Probably more than most people, I find myself preoccupied by all that misery is: that state of suffering and want or state of emotional distress. The part I’ve been most interested in lately is how we endure pain and suffering and how does that suffering transform us? Certainly, we are stronger but only, I think, because we have been humbled by need and despair. The nearer I get to 40, the more I’ve been questioning this idea of enduring and transforming. Because most often we do, in fact – quietly, or not so quietly – endure.
I may not have told you, however, that I’ve been doing some research on ultra endurance sports, events in which athletes greatly exceed the standard distance, time or terrain typical of a given sport. For example, 50-, 100-, and 200- mile races are ultra running events. In the Trans America Footrace, competitors run from Los Angeles to New York, covering 3,000 miles in 64 consecutive days, averaging 45 miles per day. The Kiehl’s Badwater Ultra Marathon considered the most difficult ultra-running event, is a 135 mile race through the heart of Death Valley in mid-July, where temperatures can exceed 115 degrees. Multi-day adventure events, some lasting a week, and covering hundreds of miles, require teams to engage in a variety of athletic activities including running, climbing, paddling, horseback riding and cycling, over such impossible terrain as dessert and jungle.
Ultra athletes throw up, piss on themselves, babble, hallucinate, fall down, and weep openly, all in addition to running the actual race. They also jog, then walk, and sometimes are brought to a crawl. These people have to be strong to do this stuff but they also have to be able to accept being humbled and maybe even broken for a time. And most importantly, these folks would not survive or finish without their support crew. The athlete is dependent on the crew and the crew is witness to the athlete’s humiliation, brokenness, and if all goes well, finish.
This intermingling of exertion, strength, desperation, need, darkness, and intimacy that I see in ultra-endurance sports is the inspiration behind the next Love Everybody event. In brief, I’m going to try to make it through my own sort of ultra-endurance event and I need you. In fact, I can’t do it without you. For 40 hours I will be running through an obstacle course at Judson Church and I need you to be with me for just one of those hours. I need you to keep me going. I don’t expect to throw up on your shoes but I am likely to cry and ask for a bottle of water and a Power Bar. You don’t have to run the course with me, but I think I’ll need you to count laps, and give me snacks, and get me through it. The self-imposed neediness of the situation frightens and intrigues me. I feel more capable of staying awake for a couple of days than I do of needing and accepting help so practically and emotionally. I guess we will see.
I was wondering if you could please pick an hour on the enclosed schedule in which you could accompany me. I’m not sure if you suffer from insomnia or not, but if you do, maybe it could work for us both if you joined me during one of the wee hours. I have to know by February 20th if you can commit to one of the hours so please email me with your response. Then I will get back to you as soon as I can with more details about what you will have to do.
I also wanted to invite you to a party at the end. It would mean a lot to me if you would be able to be there for the last few of the 40 grisly hours that I will have been awake. There will be a big Love Everybody home stretch party which will be a lot of fun. It may also turn out to be a gruesome car wreck type of sight that you won’t want to miss. Please see the attached card for “where and when” details. I’ll try not to be soiling myself and babbling incoherently but I’m not promising anything. If you have any questions give me a call or drop me an email.
- Heidi Dorow, [email protected]
Heidi Dorow is the primary instigator for the Love Everybody Movement. She lives in Brooklyn and has a day job in philanthropy.