The Skirball’s Hanukkah program meant a big happy crowd milling round the centre listening to bands and enjoying a host of family based activities. Away down the corridors things were quieter for us with the rice. Occasionally large groups, like the excellent Omega crowd, made it down, but mostly the room was just steadily attended.
We had lots of bright kids through, their parents testing their knowledge or powers of deduction, using the rice piles as learning points – we heard one girl get a good grounding in labour history and early unionisation in our Garment Workers section. A young lad filled Graeme in on the intricacies of the U.S. electoral system, how a president can win the popular vote and lose the electoral college.
There were lots of excellent an provocative suggestions. A few people wanted to see a pile depicting the population of China, to which we had to explain that in all three rooms we don’t have enough rice for that pile. Then there were the obvious questions about the population of the world, which is almost twenty one times the very big pile we have representing the U.S.A..
The show grew a bit. We added a playful obituary in rice for Evel Knievel. Polar exploration and conflict in the South Atlantic are now included. Abortion came under a little more focus. I felt compelled to add the entrants in this year’s World Beard and Moustache Championships next to the four Texan Police Officers suing against having to shave their beards off. We have also added some statistics about charitable acts, a few of these link to the work of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, where much of the rice is going once the performance closes on December 30.
It was a long fun day, with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the show from people of all ages, crucially one of the suggestions we got during the course of the day was a great place to have dinner.