SN: Online Radio Panel at Pirate Cat

Andy Blue from the League of Pissed Off Voters called me up yesterday to see if I had any plans last night. None, really. So he told me to stop by Pirate Cat Radio/Cafe before 7pm to sit on a panel and discuss graffiti on the League’s weekly show. All worked out nicely, so I met up with Reyes, Cuba, Chris (who co-created the new local books with Steve Rotman), Eddie, and Eclairacuda to have a one-hour talk about what’s going on in SF with graffiti and street art. The talk mostly discussed spray graffiti, so it was great to hear Chris, Cuba, and Reyes talk about what’s going on in their world. Chris has great thoughts and concepts about what’s happening. Eddie and I got to throw in some angles too. And the writers, including the always entertaining Eclair, kept things real throughout.

You can hear the discussion here. Make sure you scroll half way through the two-hour show to get to the graffiti talk.

Thanks to Andy Blue, a fan and grey-area participant of the scene, for pulling us together in what may become an ongoing dialog about the City’s Zero Graffiti stance, and how absurd that goal truly is.

The FaceBook Re(De)volution

Hitting the End of a Warhead with a Hammer

During my cold, winter travels in the heart and fringes of the European Union, an odd transformation happened to me and my travel mate Pod. We felt immersed in the transmigration of real to digi-real, and overwhelmed by the power of corporate, online social networking tools. Using a term that a philosopher gave me in Prague, Pod and I are digital immigrants, folks from the era of rotary dial phones, pre-1984 Apple, and rabbit ears for TV reception. We have seen the birth of the computer, the cell phone, and now Web 2.0. The latter development sparked Brendan Smith, et al. to surmise in their article Social Movements 2.0 that “the web is increasingly looking like the invention of the printing press, which radically changed the lives of even those who could not read, by spurring the Protestant reformation and scientific revolution.”

I began to realize that I am not that as comfortable with this transformation as the digital natives, those folks who only know a world of digital innovation and seem to celebrate every last bit of it as progress for humanity. Thinking a bit deeper, and noticing that many of my Facebook friends are my age, I realized that the digital immigrants seemed to not mind going online daily to click out status blurbs on sites like FaceBook, Twitter, and MySpace. But, like I mentioned in a mini-essay for Stencil Nation, technology has become easy to use, especially online via the Web 2.0 tools. So, even those who clunked around with floppy disks back in the day could easily create blogs, upload photographs, and type those brief Tweets.

But something still doesn’t feel right. Though the most important invention since the printing press is online and in process, I couldn’t help feel an unease about the rage to social network.
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Italy for Italians, A Lesson on Fascism

“That’s a fascist bar,” Herzog replied as we walked past a normal looking Italian eatery while stencil hunting in a chilly Vicenza. Being Sunday, not much was open, but this spot blared dance music and was ready for business. Just a few minutes before he made this comment, Herzog, who’s politics seem to lean towards leftist/radical, showed me the local headquarters for the Lega Nord, a group of Italians who he and his partner Elisa called separatists. The office had posters of a stereotypical Native American Chief on their windows. “You know what this says?” I was asked. Basically, keep letting the immigrants into Italy and the native Italians will end up on reservations!

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It’s [Not] An Election Frenzy Here In GOP Land

David Morley and K Ruby’s 2000 Puppet Corporate Democracy

David Morley and K Ruby’s 2000 Puppet “Corporate Democracy”, still relevant three elections later!

Cruise a Web site that has news on it and I bet you’ll see about two dozen headlines blasting last minute news about the Presidential Election. After 21 months (keep hearing these two words in reference to the USA’s vetting of Obama) of absolute craziness, this country will elect a new president. Well, we’re already electing him since thousands of voters are already voting all across the country. Here in Bush Country, GOP Land, USA (aka South Carolina) I’m [not] overwhelmed with the media-eating frenzy.
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Garden Club Uprising

Farming Consultant Jim Smith has a lot of ground to hoe here in Upstate South Carolina. Tonight, the tall, slender 60-something farming consultant, sat in front of about 15 upper middle class women and tried to explain to them the importance of making sustainable agriculture part of their conversations, if not their gardening habit. Smith has just opened the Upstate School of Sustainable Agriculture here in Greenville County, and when he asked these nice Southern women if they knew what slow food was, only a few raised their hand.

According to Smith, Upstate SC lags in growing local organic produce and livestock. He cited the Asheville, NC area as an example of how behind Greenville is. Smith stated that you don’t have to walk too far in Asheville to find one of the 45 farmer’s markets there to buy local food. Greenville has a paltry two farmers markets, but Smith told the Garden Club that they could change that. His winding conversational talk basically ended up in a pitch for the women of this chapter to step up to the sustainable lifestyle. How? His first two suggestions were to help create CSA’s in their area, or start to grow their own home gardens. His main plea was to take classes at the USSA and get training to help consult with gardeners who wish to go organic.

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Signs of Change: NYC

See that pink poster with the Pentagon in the middle of this flyer?  I was fortunate enough to add this poster to my personal collection after Al Kizziah at Al’s Comics gave it to me. Soon after I received the poster, my friend Josh MacPhee began co-curating this amazing poster show for Exit Art in NYC. He already had too many posters to hang, and initially turned down my offer to mail the Yippie Pentagon Levitation poster to him. He then emailed me back to tell me that it was too good to pass up. So I mailed it to him to fit into the crowded walls at Exit Art.

Check out Exit Art’s page on this exhibit to see all the amazing programming, and political poster art, for this great show. Thanks to Al for his communal spirit and thanks to Josh and Dara for all their hard work on putting this show together. Hope I can get up there to see it!

What, No Politics

After posting that navel-gazing blog entry a few nights ago, I found some time to wander over to my favorite places in the blogosphere to read entries from Pod and Chris Carlsson. Both of them had mentioned the political spectacle which I’ve dived into. I looked back over my entries and realized that I don’t have much commentary on what’s going on on the ground here in the DNC/RNC circus. I touched base a bit in Denver, and my food poisoning caused me to miss the main day of protests here in the Twin Cities. But, I must admit, the Roadshow has caused me to have an insular angle on the media frenzy. I have a few highlights that might give reflection on what’s been happening.

Basically, there is no room for the radical element in USA’s two party political system. The US government on down is not allowing dissent of any kind unless it is properly permitted and well behaved. Civil disobedience is not an option at all and we all know that millions of tax dollars have been thrown at the issue and that, since the WTO protest in Seattle in 1999, creative ways to be heard by a jaded media are all moot.
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One Ride, Keep It Together

Here’s a great post about my Vancouver travels from Chris’s point-of-view.

Friday arrived sunny and warm, making our last day here another spectacular opportunity to soak in Vancouver. Chris had been talking about riding around Stanley Park since we arrived, so we biked out there soon after eating breakfast here on 20th Ave. We chose to stay south of False Creek scooting along 10th Avenue  and then biked over the Granville Street Bridge. We easily found a bike lane leading us straight through the downtown. The lane took us down to the beginning of the Stanley Park path.
Stanley Park Totem Pole
We planned to ride the one-way path around the whole perimeter of the peninsula. Before we hit that path, we stopped by the totem poles. Many tourists snapped photos of the poles before they hopped back on their buses. Paying a visit to this amazing native art started the ride off right. We had a great time with sunny paths, great views and beautiful people to share it with. We rode under the Lion’s Gate Bridge, and then drove to the edge of Davie St. to have lunch at a local hamburger shack.
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Radical Stupidity, or, Strange Ass Clown & Hippie Parade

Strange Ass Clown & Hippie Parade
– A flickr citizen’s description of the 2008 St. Stupid’s Parade

“It can be tremendously beneficial when dealing with difficulties to be lighthearted in one’s engagement with life so that one will not take oneself too seriously.”
– HH the Dalai Lama

It’s the fool on television
Getting paid to play the fool
– The Big Money by Rush

“We’re making fun of the huge corporations and the religion of business.”
– Ed Holmes aka Bish Joey of the FCLL

photo by Scott Beale
photo by Scott Beale of Laughing Squid

OK, must catch BART to Justin Herman to get there around noonish before the parade starts. Let’s see. Red and white stripped socks? Check. Green protective goggles? Yep. Samba whistle? Still in the bag from Critical Mass. Crazy pink women’s jacket? Just picked it up from the cleaners. Red pants? wearing them. Flowerpot hat? Got it, and it still has a sticker on there from the NYC GOP protests 3 years ago. The sticker says “Worst President Ever.” OK, I think I have everything for this year’s St. Stupid’s parade.
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Police Controlling Critical Mass

Photo by:

The “friendly” SFPD escort service awaits Critical Mass on the March 28, 2008 ride. Photo by: Adam

Almost a year ago, the monthly last Friday ride Critical Mass caused a ruckus when a van met the throng of bikers in Japantown. Not knowing how to react (put the car in park and enjoy the spectacle), the driver sped up and drove through the riders, knocked one off his bike, and then tried to flee the scene. The van ended up surrounded with a smashed window, and the SF Chronicle ended up with early fodder for what seems to be a subtle campaign to unhinge the Bike Plan for the City. Continue reading “Police Controlling Critical Mass”

5 Years Too Long….Shock & Awe Ticker 08

6:20AM 3/19: Wow, five years ago I got up super early like I did today and headed down to Justin Herman Plaza on my bike with a group of friends. Still dark and cold right now. Oh well, big breakfast for me, pack my snacks, and get down to Sansome and Market

7:20AM: I arrive at Sansome Market to find a fairly large crowd milling about at the Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW) “Info Station.” Insane Reagan is across the street doing a McCain “Bomb Iran” spoof already. the BLO is there ready to play the marching beats. Dance Dance Insurrection has arrived. All bands are dressed in pink. DASW volunteers keep telling me to plug in, take the orientation session, etc. I go over to the orientation and don’t get much out of it except a flyer with the Lawyer’s Guild phone number on it. I’m antsy this morning. Calamity bums a light off of me and then complains that the DASW has no tactics about head on confrontation with the SFPD. Ah, it’s cold. Let’s get this Snake March started!
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