A study in anarchy

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  August 1, 2011

Anarchy hipster poem

FREE RADICALS

The Lorem Ipsum is hopping with a mix of Cambridge characters, some whose black frames are steamed up as they arrive, sweaty, on their bicycles. They're showing up three, four at a time for Corvid's first-ever approximation of a formal event — a retrospective and retirement bash for Greer, who, in three days, is leaving with his girlfriend to hitchhike across Portugal, where he hopes to "recharge his batteries."

"This type of fanfare isn't normal for us," Greer tells me about the animated send-off.

Sporting his trademark Amish look — full-on beard, thin suspenders, and a sky-blue button-down — Greer works the crowd, rapping with dozens of students and faculty members, more than a few of whom also have mature facial fros despite being under 30. For at least a moment, with so many free spirits mingling, and Lil Wayne blaring in the background, the Corvid dream is realized. Over my shoulder, in the corner, I hear someone brag about a Beach Boys cassette that she just bought at Goodwill.

For his final farewell, Greer projects some of his short films in the rear of the bookstore. The last one, a clip of kittens frolicking, is entitled Heaven Will Never Forgive Us. Greer announces that it is a rumination on Christian theology, then encores with a poem called "The State of the Art of Hipsterdom."

With Greer's distrust of geography, there's no telling when he might return. So cats like Buck and Greer's former Harvard Divinity School classmate Christopher Lee will be picking up the slack. Some students tell me they're anticipating an upcoming class called "How to play and enjoy magic," which is the next installment in Corvid's "Drinking Circle" series.

But the more you teach some anarchists, the more they want out. This Tuesday — three weeks after Greer's retirement gala — Loftus held a sunset rendezvous with friends at Prospect Hill in Somerville to discuss the state of their college. If the point of anarchy school is to learn how to be an anarchist, you might say Loftus, now an instructor, is their poster child.

"I learned a great deal from Corvid," he wrote to me in an e-mail manifesto. "We've been equipped with an ontological toolkit and a multi-disciplinary aptitude that permits us to think and move in some interesting, hopefully new directions."

He's still "happily affiliated" with the college, but also teaches art and writing classes at the Lorem Ipsum — independently.

There's something poetic, almost, about anarchists yearning to tear down their own carefully crafted institution.

"I don't know if I completely agree with the direction [Corvid] seems to be taking," Loftus continued. "I respect everyone involved, but I'll be honest, I had been getting a bit bored with the territory it concerned itself with."

Follow Chris Faraone on Twitter @fara1.

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