Sunday May 5, 1991
in the '70s, David Greenberger, armed with a bachelor's degree in
arts, went forth into the working world with the belief that maybe
make things a little better. "I had been painting and getting
shows," he says, "but I had a real desire to do something
people - but I wasn't sure what."
he heard of a job at a Massachusetts nursing home as an activities
director. Perfect he thought. He could teach the residents painting
other crafts, and make their lives a little more enjoyable.
first he went around to all the residents and spoke to them, questioned
them. He was surprised by some of their answers. Especially when he
them far-out questions like what their fears were or what they thought
about love. "The whole purpose," he says," was to get
to know them."
found some of the answers so revealing and creative he published them
a sort of free-form literary magazine. He called it the Duplex Planet,
spin of the Daily Planet and the Duplex Nursing Home, where all these
people lived. "The first issue I did wasn't too slick,"
recalls. "It was 8 1/2 by 11 sheets stapled in the corner. And
reading it as if it were literature."
refined it, changing it to a 4 x 6 inch chap book and giving each
edition a theme: coffee, Frankenstein, gravity, broken hearts. He
the entries on a manual typewriter and intersperses them with photos
"I was never in a bad storm. I've been just outside them."-
that was a seven-foot storm. The whole city was tied up. We worked
around the clock, I worked 22 hours out of 24, keepin' the highways
- Andy Legrice
day's a holiday for me!" - Roy Elliot
birthday should be a legal holiday - why not? I'm human, ain't I"
few years ago, the Duplex Nursing Home closed. Greenberger moved to
Upstate New York, near Schenectedy, and began doing graphics work
continuing to publish the Duplex Planet. He now interviews residents
several area nursing homes. And his subscription base has grown from
couple hundred to nearly 500 - "people who have a tendency to
read," he says, "There is a certain amount of sophistication,
And why, you ask? "Because you can learn something from someone
complete sentences," says Greenberger
Greenberger is presenting readings in "Visit to a Duplex Planet,"
along with Kurt Sayenga reading short stories and a dance performance
Amie Dowling and friends at d.c. space tomorrow night at 9. Tickets
For information, call 202-347-1145.
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