Emily Stoper: How “Polly’s Phat Phollies” Came to be

Judy Freespirit was a totally amazing person. Here’s a story that shows her in action. A few years back, around 2003, I was the lay head of the Adult Religious Education program at Judy’s church, First Unitarian of Oakland. A member of the church, who was a vegan, was scheduled to teach a course about vegan eating and cooking that was based around a film series by a well-known vegan who was also a big diet guru.

Well, if you know Judy, you know she hated the whole diet and weight loss industry, which she saw as total hucksterism. Diets virtually never work but there’s a lot of money to be made by making people think they do. Judy strongly protested to me about the course, demanding that it be canceled.

Being a good liberal, I hated to censor anybody, so I suggested to Judy that she offer her own course, on the problems with dieting or on fat liberation more broadly. Judy knew that such a course would draw only a handful of students, so she scoffed at my offer. The next thing I heard, she was hard at work writing, producing and directing a rollicking, raunchy musical show about fat lib called “Polly’s Phat Phollies.” It had two performances at the church with an audience totaling several 100. I went to see it myself and had a blast. That was Judy! She pushed hard for what she believed in – but in a spirit of creativity, humor and fun.

What a woman! I’m so sorry she’s gone.

Emily Stoper


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Elizabeth Keir
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 06:07:07

    Thanks Emily. It was a great show.


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