Whatever You Do…

7-footed Fem-o-saur

When I last visited Vermont [in Aug. 2004], I spent 3 crazy days in mud, sadness, and relief at Phish’s last stand, Coventry. Mud season had hit early via three tropical storms that blew over right before the festival opened. All the planned fields of parking were fields of shit-smelling mud. My life-long friend and brother Mark helped me make it to the show, wanting one last goodbye to all our years of Phish shows (and hoping to cheer me up as my life began to unravel). The locals were super nice, the sunsets were amazing, and I promised myself that I’d return to Vermont soon. – HappyFeet Travels entry, from VT, in April 19, 2006.

The Photographer, at Coventry, VT

Once again, I have written a comment about a Phish festival experience (I wrote about the Clifford Ball here). Someone on the Phish subreddit asked if anyone had fun at the Phish Coventry festival. I had to think about that for a minute. Was it actually fun? Two memories vividly popped up; one was spending a few hours near the entrance cheering on the folks walking in from the freeway. Another was seeing my friend Mark’s hilarious photographs of shoe wear (or lack of shoes) from other phans. And a police horse.


Getting digital photos back in 2004 wasn’t as easy as it is now (cloud storage was about a year away from becoming a new and easy way to share). Mark didn’t even use a phone camera to snap the pics. He eventually gave me digital copies, which ended up on a hard drive with other photos. I rediscovered them a few years ago, and frequently look through them for a laugh. Mark had a great time meeting folks and giving their shoes, etc. funny titles. It was a great way to participate during a sad, dreary, shit-smelling weekend.

The Phorgotten

The following is what I wrote for the subreddit post (with a few revisions for clarity). We had a madcap adventure, which swore me off of flying around for music festivals. It was the end of the 2.0 era of Phish, which was thankfully short. I didn’t mention a few other memories on the subreddit post. One that really stands out is of a strung-out young hippie coming up to our car/camp site and asking us if we knew where any “pharmies” were. Before we could ask her what she meant, a neighbor interrupted and furiously told her to piss off. We asked him what she meant, and he explained that it was legal prescription “hillbilly heroin” that was ruining the scene. And Trey’s life. Oooooooh. That’s what Trey is addicted to. Damn.

Latest Mummy Fashion

Coventry was a surreal, exhausting, muddy experience.

My bro Mark and I flew into and met up in Montreal a day before gates opened. We saw on the hostel’s desktop computer that phish.com had a notice saying that three tropical storms had delayed the gate opening the next day. Wait to drive in, they requested. I looked at Mark, and we both agreed to “leave first thing in the morning and get there ASAP!”

Driving into the USA sucked, but we were older phans and intentionally drove in looking clean-cut with no contraband. The dogs found nothing, but a few other cars/phans weren’t so lucky.

We bought groceries (and mud boots) in town, and a tow truck driver shopping there told us how bad things were on site. He drew us a shortcut to get closer to the gate, saving us about 8 hours of waiting in a longer line of traffic! Driving in was a painful and brutal experience. People kept falling asleep in the car line, and we spent 8 hours hopping the sleepers (I’d yell to try to wake them).

Golom in Goth

Finally through the gate, we saw a surreal scene of empty fields of mud with huge-wheeled tractors pulling cars into the middle parts. “Screw that” we said and literally drove into the mud on the edge of one of the “roads” (where most cars parked). Setting up a quick tent, we called it a day, instantly passing out from the trip. I awoke hours later, hearing the “do not come to Coventry” message that Mike had recorded. The message was playing over and over on the pirate radio station set up for the festival, and probably being broadcast as far as Boston on rock stations. Our neighbors were abuzz over what was going to happen next. No one had any idea how the folks still stuck in traffic, or about to leave from New England cities, were going to deal with the announcement.

After eating, hydrating, and getting settled, we saw an RV alone in a muddy field flying a South Carolina flag (our home state). We trudged down there to say howdy. They were exhausted, not too happy, and freaked out about how to get out of the field (they paid the huge tractor to tow them in there). Bummer. We trudged out of that swampy field and wandered around a bit. Up on a hill, I saw a beautiful sunset that day and told the person beside me, “what an amazing sunset!” She said “I know. I live here!” umm, ok.

Heading to the first show was surreal. After a very long walk from our car, near a vending area, wooden pallets made a small path through a pond of deep mud. Cut the line in the mud at your own risk! I kept hearing the “cowbell” SNL skit as we trudged with the masses on the tiny path. The pallets eventually ran out, and 1000s of phans had not choice but to head to the entrance in a pool of stinking mud. I heard the groans of 100s ahead of us, as they entered the swamp, so knew something horrible was coming. Beyond being yet another metaphor of Phish’s last concert, to this day, I consider the walk to the first night as a ring of hell.

At the gate to the show, fences were torn down. No one was looking at tickets, so it was a free concert (if you weren’t in traffic). Too bad the music quality was mixed. First impressions in the show area? Trying to get close meant hitting a river of mud. Huge boulders were in front of the stage, a symbolic reminder that Trey’s addiction was blocking the whole experience. Or maybe the boulders were a symbol of the weather creating massive difficulties for the fans to even get to the show. As for the music, after a few horrible flubs, I couldn’t take it any more and went back to the car to rest and listen on the radio. I had to turn it off after a while. Mark stayed at the show and enjoyed it, saying it wasn’t as bad and I thought it was.

Severe Gang-green

Day two was actually quite fun, in a schadenfreude kind of way. We set up chairs at the entrance and cheered on the immigrants from the Interstate. The sun was shining. It was great to see the exhausted shoe-bums finally get into the last-ever Phish show! I recall the most popular item brought into the festival area were coolers. Beer and food! Mark took his camera and photographed muddy feet and shoes. His photo project was hilarious once he developed the film (most of them are posted here). There was food and fresh water access. We had beer and bud. No one really wanted to talk about the quality of last night’s show, but seeing people arriving from the Interstate was all smiles and cheers.

Getting in that night wasn’t as miserable as first night. We tried to get closer, but ended up on the audience-right wall that was officially an open urinal and smelled horrible. There was a river of mud that few dared to go into, but Mark tried. I had a good laugh over it and saw others laughing at his getting stuck in a mire.

Back to the Page side of the stage, we climbed a hill and watched the scene. Again, the band was barely together. Hearing Page and Trey cry was such a sad moment. We heard the encore at the “gate” of the concert area, ready to leave fast to beat more hell traffic. It was a sad moment to an exhausting weekend, but we did manage to have some fun.

Truffle Probes

Prior to that last note ever at the gate, earlier in the day, we had neighbors help us push our car out of the mud, and we parked in the “day lot” to get a fast exit out of the festival. After that last note, we beat a downtrodden path to the lot. Security blocked us off at a road that led out of the backstage area. We watched three different buses drive out of there; it was the band. Page actually gave a forlorn wave to us from one of the windows as we gave one final cheer to the boys. We all knew that Trey was probably alone and isolated in his own bus. Damn.

We were probably one of the first cars out. Driving past dozens of cop cars with lights blazing, we wandered into dark Vermont back roads until we found a lodge with a clean bed and – most importantly – a shower! Drove back to Montreal the next day and, after trying poutine for the first time, flew back home.


After all of that, I swore that I’d never travel to see Phish, or go to another festival. I’ve broken that first vow, and may eventually break the second.

Postscript: When I went back to Vermont in 2006 to work for Ben Cohen’s Sensible Priorities art car carnival, I managed to head back to Coventry for a visit. The site was easy to find, especially with no traffic! I parked my van, and walked onto the field. After only two years, the fields had grass on them. I recall that the boulders were still there, as well as some infrastructure that had sunk in the mud. As always, the vistas were of beautiful Vermont countryside. During that quiet moment, I tried to visualize the mud and masses, the sadness and exhaustion. Phish was gone. Trey hadn’t been arrested yet. And, two years back,, we all had to take care of our shoes that weekend. Some of the unlucky ones are probably still stuck in the cow field muck. And the others are photographs and memories.

CELLspace Metal Mural Gets Rehomed

Metal Mural Gets Relocated from Mission Local on Vimeo.

As the fate of CELLspace became more clear in early 2014, I knew that I’d have to deal with the murals I’d been facilitating on the building’s facade. The masonite and wood panels were easy enough to take down and store. I had worked directly with the artists so had been in contact with most of them about the fate of their art. One mural went to the Bike Kitchen (they funded its creation). Jet Martinez didn’t want his and didn’t want it to be saved. Many of the artists were OK possibly selling the panels, with some funds going to my Stencil Archive project. Swoon had no desire to save her art and was sad to know the art space was going away.

While in process, the Bryant St. panels came down a bit too early after a tagger painted throw-ups on about three of the panels in July of 2014. I found out later (one of the tagged artists knew the guy) that this person was shit-faced drunk and didn’t even remember destroying three murals. Two of the murals were significant pieces, one being SPIE’s “All our Relations” from 1996.

Alarmed at the vandalism, I got volunteers to quickly take down the panels I had spent months trying to save and rehome. I caught flack from the folks still in the building and had a very terse conversation with the management there about making the space vulnerable and unattractive. Well, it is a warehouse and you can easily redo the windows with your own plywood. As the months advanced, Vau de Vere had many other issues to deal with in the space, and eventually were asked to leave by the developers who planned to build the largest condo building in the Mission.

Continue reading “CELLspace Metal Mural Gets Rehomed”

Panopticonic Shrugs in the Snowden-net

Almost March and no posts for the new year. I have felt eyes upon all corners of my privacy so haven’t felt too inspired to spend time staring at a screen and writing. I don’t know what think. My mind is blown. I have become introverted. I deleted email accounts. Changed passwords (so many hacked bank and store sites). Have a 2D avatar. If anything, stencils. Meeting up with friends has become important.

With gentrification comes cameras. Cameras on MUNI buses (at least 4, one pointing out the windshield, with one purpose: get evidence and write tickets for cars that park in bus stops). Cameras on bikes (thanks GoPro). Cameras on sidewalks in front of condos, and people constantly staring at cameras -er – cell phones.

The eye stares far and wide!

I am currently reading Glenn Greenwald’s “No Place to Hide” and the book’s statements make me furious. It’s a hard book to read. Fucking NSA! I never thought I’d feel a generation gap, but I feel one now. The Gen Web young adults have a very different idea of what privacy is. And I guess I like to keep it old school, i.e., “butt out of my private life.” Continue reading “Panopticonic Shrugs in the Snowden-net”

Intersection Watching: Amazed at the Chaos

I’m going to miss bike commuting the first few blocks of Sansome St. in San Francisco’s Financial District. That’s right – the nonprofit that I work for is going to move to downtown Oakland in the next three months. We are fleeing the booming high-rent space ($52/square foot in our current building) in order to grow and have the extra funds to support the growth. I may write more about my first ever desk job in Oakland, but for now – the poetic chaos of Sansome Street.

The yellow highlighted area marks the main stretch of my commute that fascinates me twice daily.
The yellow highlighted area marks the main stretch of my commute that fascinates me twice daily.

I frequently discuss traffic with a friend who happens to drive for Lyft (and Uber) and write freelance. During one of these discussions, I shared a story about how an Uber limo driver decided to drive around a Muni bus and the three cars stuck behind it. You may see a driver make this maneuver in other parts of San Francisco. On Sansome St., the Uber driver drove into the oncoming lane, into a gridlocked intersection, and only had an option of turning right (Muni buses can turn left and then zag right onto Market St. while all other traffic must turn right onto Sutter St.). Continue reading “Intersection Watching: Amazed at the Chaos”

An Obituary for CELLspace

Written by Devin Holt (I pitched in with info, editing, and whatnot)

CELLspace, community arts center, closed its doors at the end of 2012.

During the late 90s and early aughts, there was no better place to see the Mission District’s artistic, multicultural vibe than CELLspace. San Francisco prankster Chicken John was known to decorate the 10,000 square foot warehouse as a Las Vegas casino; the Flaming Lotus Girls created their first large scale fire installations in the CELLspace Metal Shop, and during Carnaval, the space would burst at the seams from the ritual drumming, colorful rattling costumes and sheer number of teenagers involved in groups like Loco Bloco and Danza Azteca.

Michael Sturtz was so impressed by CELLspace that he named his industrial arts school, The Crucible, after their art gallery.

“The name was inspired by the Crucible Steel Gallery, which was the CELLspace gallery at the time,” he said. Continue reading “An Obituary for CELLspace”

Month of Blog: Learning Points

Here we are, four weeks later and the Month of Blog is complete. What do I have to show for a month of focusing on retro content, even without the daily link to the current networking site(s) of choice?

  • Well, I can optimistically say that my brain thinks less in the framework of “I should post that on Face Book.” Good to know that the billboards of my mind have been cut down by the chainsaws of indy-driven content.
  • I had some moments at the beginning where I was ahead of the daily postings and I had some moments here and there where I missed a day and had to back date a post (this just happened today).
  • I enjoyed taking what interested me and putting it in the context of daily posts rather than Face Book or Flickr’ing the content. There’s liberation in not posting to a feed-driven site, where one can get lost in the chatter. There’s freedom from looking at one’s personal content that is not in the framework of a clean, yet bloated, framework.
  • My brain and social network didn’t implode because of less activity on the corporate social sites.
  • I did have a few instances of not having much to say, but enjoyed posting random content that filled the gaps.
  • I realized that my webstats site is not that user friendly for a moderate blogger. Urchin 6 needs to give me graphs and more dumbed down stats!
  • Photos, thoughts, dreams, lines, stencils, politics, remembrances, music, creations … I hope you enjoyed rattling around my brain for a month straight without distractions from all the other tickers of brain rattlings.

And what about the future?

As I continue to feel ODd on FaceBook, I will continue to go retro and blog. But I doubt I’ll keep up the daily postings. This has been a refreshing exercise in mind and thought liberation.

Thank you for your participation!

The Other 4/20: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

While plums of purple haze drift over the City from Golden Gate Park’s Hippie Hill, let us not ever forget the unfortunate disaster that is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The human deaths on this day in 2009 were a tragedy, the aftermath is yet another sad example of our capacity to shit where we eat.

Earthjustice Blog posted a great page with news about the spill.

Dead dolphins keep washing up on shore in unprecedented numbers. Oil-coated coral reefs are dying in the deepwater. Eyeless shrimp and crabs with holes in their shells are showing up in relatively empty fishing nets while killifish, a minnow-like fish at the base of the food chain, show signs of chemical poisoning.

And critics say offshore drilling safety and oversight remains woefully lacking.

Meanwhile, coalitions continue to form and grow against fracking, the Alberta Oil Sands (and the Keystone XL pipeline), arctic drilling. In the past two years, fracking has caused earth quakes, the Keystone pipeline as not approved, yet arctic drilling is about to begin. I cannot imagine an oil spill in the rugged Arctic Ocean.

That would be an even worse disaster than in the Gulf, if that can even be calculated in terms of destruction upon the Earth.

You are already a member…

Ah… Rev. Ian Stang and his cadre always make me smile.
So blessed to have seen “Bob” here and there in the early 1990s and then found out what it all “meant”.
Doubly blessed to live in SF, where abnormal means normal, and the normals are, well… from Walnut Creek!
Triply blessed to know that all post-web high weirdness and mocking mayhem stems from the  Discordian and Illuminatus! roots of the CoSG and Bishop Joey’s First Church of the Last Laugh. These idiots found inspiration from mid-20th Century nuts, including the Merry Prankster/Situationist/DaDa/Fluxus realms.

BEHOLD…. something to seriously not be serious about, unless you feel the deep need to be serious about something that is possibly not seriously worth being serious about.



Then you are probably BETTER than most people!

IF you suspect that things are much worse than you ever suspected…
IF the only thing you’ve been able to laugh at for the last 5 years is the fact that NOTHING is funny anymore…
IF you sometimes want to collar people on the street and scream that you’re more different than they could possibly imagine…
IF you can possibly help us with a donation…
IF you see the whole universe as one vast morbid sense of sick humor…
IF the current “Age of Progress” seems more like the Dark Ages to you…
IF you are looking for an inherently contradictory religion that will condone megadegeneracy and yet tell you that you are “above” everyone else…


THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS could save your sanity!

Using SubGenius secrets of BULLDADA and MOREALISM you can now MIRACULOUSLY ELIMINATE COMPULSIVE URGES such as smoking, eating, sleeping, working; end baldness, constipation, sex-money problems, assouliness, and painful shortage of SLACK!

Become a Doktor of the Forbidden Sciences… Make religion a kick-ass adventure! Indulge in Self-Help through Raising Hell!

The SubGenius:

Patriot or Alien?
Personal Savior or False Prophet?
Nurd or Hero?
Inspired Madman or Complete Jackass?

Thought you’d tried everything? YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET! Learn to THINK BIG! Develop the tricks of Length Extension! Bring your weirdest dreams to rampaging LIFE!

Stand erect for you own abnormality. WISE UP! They are out to get you.

The Facebook IP License

Find all the terms here.

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

This appears to be a straightforward clause that allows FB to show your IP content on their site. They clearly state, prior to this clause, that “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook.” However, the main sentence of this clause is “you specifically give us [Facebook]…. license to use any IP content that you post on… Facebook.”

The obvious reason for posting IP content on FB is to have people share it, tag it, and like it. And the only way out of this license agreement is to delete your IP content. If it has been shared around the FB networks, then those copies need to be deleted too! That seems almost impossible to do if you have years of IP content and get a reasonable amount of shares on it.

FB appears to not include any simple way to notify those who have shared your IP content to please delete it so that this license can be terminated.

Sneaky twists, those FB billionaires.

Copyright Yer Sh!t ??

Woe be the artist who doesn’t dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Who would expect to have that song become a YouTube sensation, or that illustration to end on on the cover of a magazine? FaceBook and Google+, etc. may weasel in on your rights too, if you post things on there. After the success, what do you have if you haven’t covered your ass?

And did you co-create a work? Do you have a collaboration agreement with everyone else? If you have a project that becomes successful, © and ownership issues may become messy.

Then again, there is also Creative Commons, which Flickr.com allows for content sharing. I protect my content under ©©. This allows creative re-use, but not to make money from re-use. You can scroll to the bottom of this page and read all about it. Try to make money off of my content, and >:)

A funny video on © your music:

This is not legal advice btw. Need that? Ask a lawyer!

Meal, Rain, Curse, Renewal

I stare at the radar screen, showing colors of a storm across the Bay Area. Yellows are the worst of it, poring down out my window in the darkness of my back courtyard area. The flood light went out after they flipped the fourth and final one bedroom back there. I emailed the landlord to tell her three weeks ago and she said it would be fixed. It is still broken and I guess all the new folks living back there do not mind walking through the dark up the stairs to their places.

I have been thinking about silence today. I know someone that talks constantly. Almost nonstop. I won’t go into details because this person could actually wander over to this site and figure out who I am talking about. But all the talk makes me think of not talking. I hear enough talking in my mind. Nonstop monkey brain. Planing planning planning. Getting caught up on inner criticisms and the hustle for work and living.

But I do not feel like I have to open up my mind’s words into actual verbal words. I do not feel that strong of a need to connect with someone just to connect. I do like connecting, but I like to use my words with care. They can easily hurt or be too aggressive. They can easily be taken the wrong way and misinterpreted. One thing I have learned in my Paralegal classes is that words matter. In law, like life, what you say can and will be held against you.

But I get caught up and attached to the frustration and anger that arises when I hear nonstop talking. I don’t want to be around it! Some of it offends me. Some of makes me want to argue a counterpoint. Simply put, there can be unskillful means within the confines of the chatter.

On the flip side of this, I have had an exquisite conversation with a familiar stranger these past three weeks. I do not know her but I do know her. I have not spoken with her but we have spoken. I savor the words that she uses and I try to give thoughtful replies. I fret over my word choices and feel like I may say too much. I have edited myself and tried to keep a more refined persona. We are email pen pals with a few snail mail cards thrown in.

While I still go over to FaceBook, appreciating the silence and the pointed choice of words to a pen pal has added another layer of my disdain for social media. I look upon the feed(s) with a clouded confusion. Some of it is self-promotion which I do not mind. Most of it seems like chatter. And I get frustrated at the uselessness. While I translate Italian subject lines and watch shared videos, the FaceBook stream looks like this (and this is the current stream of useless chatter):

OK. I just looked at FB and I cannot bring myself to judge. I do not want to judge. I do not want to feel like I’m sucking sugar water in a rat maze as the feed ticks on. Maybe it is useful chatter for others. Maybe it is teaching me a lesson in my practice. Notice it and let it go. Do not let the mind get caught in the FB stream!

The rain continues outside my window. Not as loud as it was 15 minutes ago. I feel the laptop on my lap. Hear the ticking of the space heater. See the words appearing on the screen. This is now. Just notice this, now.

Right now, it’s like this.

Translate Curse to Italian. Maldire.

Translate Renewal to Italian. Rinnovo.

Rain renews. Washes away the day.

Sticky Mouth

Yes, today is one of those days where you just go with the flow and take it for what it is. It began with the end of a seder for Passover. Done Project Artaud/Mission/Reb Le stylie. Biked home from that around 3am this morning, with mystical discussions and mad laughter ringing in my ears. Got home and continued to read Catching Fire, Book II of the Hunger Games trilogy. Slept in and had a futzy morning and finished the book, made final plans for the tour this afternoon, ate some food. Just chilled on a Shabbas morning. Gave the tour for a party of 9, a surprise birthday party for a man’s wife. She announced to her friends that she was pregnant. Weather was great. They loved the walk. Off to CC and Addie’s place for pre MAPP cocktails of egg-white pisco sours. Dangerous concoctions! Visits with friends and making new friends. Then out and about the Mission for tacos, galleries, and spaces packed to folks enjoying music. Discussions of murals, meetings with new and old friends, hugs all around and then back home to end the night with Mockingjay Book III beginnings, pb and honey sandwiches, the daily blog post, and a sticky mouth. Continue reading “Sticky Mouth”