So, in December, I went to Europe for the first time. Ever.
Just like when I went to Mexico last year, here are a list of random things I thought about while I was on the trip:
- Protests. During the week I was in Rome, students all over Italy were protesting cuts to education. This included lots of marches that we saw (including a huge police presence and lots of blockades) and the protesters even occupied some tourist sites. There are some good photos from later in December in this Huffington Post piece and there is some video and background here from the NY Times. I loved the “book bloc” where students used banners/shields designed to look like book covers. A group called Art Against the Cuts said, “Books are our tools – we teach with them, we learn with them, we play with them, we create with them, we make love with them and, sometimes, we must fight with them.”We also witnessed a mass march of labor workers protesting austerity cuts, going right by our apartment. Some sources say 100,000 people participated, and really, the march went on for hours – it was really impressive. They were really good with their color coordinating – all the red shirts, flags, banners, and balloons really made an impression.
- I’ve been wanting to go to Europe for a long time, but I was finally motivated and inspired by my two dear friends, Max (my housemate) and Manjula. In May, they left the U.S. for a seven month bicycle trip through England, France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy – with a side trip to Israel tacked on at the end. They saved their dollars and really made it work through a combination of camping, cooking, hostels, and the hospitality of old friends and new ones. They used two websites – Couch Surfing and Warm Showers to meet loads of great people. I love not only their ambition and willpower, but their entire attitude about the trip. They wrote about it on the Snail Blog.
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Last week, The Guardian ran a slide show called, “Kanellos the Greek Protest Dog.” One of 14 photos, the one featured here was taken by Aris Messinis. The story caption says, “A dog that has been seen at nearly every demonstration in Athens over the last two years has turned up again during the recent protests against new austerity measures.”
This is probably the most talked about story among my friends in the last week, and yeah, I’ve always loved dogs. The Guardian also featured an amazing photo essay of the “10 Worst Ecocides.” Along with the NY Times Photo Blog, the Guardian is really moving up on the list of photo sites I frequent (which includes many of the independent sites listed to the right in my blog roll).
My next post? It will be about Facebook. Really.
I just returned from spending three weeks in Southern Mexico and Mexico City. It was my first time in Mexico, aside from once, more than 10 years ago, when I was in El Paso and I walked across the border to Juarez for an hour. I have a lot of mixed feelings about traveling internationally. Here are some notes on what I did and where I went and what I thought. And yes, I like lists. I posted a few photos on my Flickr page.
- I met lots of nice people while I was there. Most of the time I spent with my friend Ramor. He wrote a book in 2006 called Clandestines, and contributes a lot to the website Upside Down World. He also is working on a new book, which I am looking forward to. I also met some people who have this great organization called COMPPA, which helps helps indigenous communities in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras set up radio stations. Read the rest of this entry »
My 18-year-old niece, Emily, is visiting this week from Pittsburgh, PA. On Friday, we went to Alcatraz – I haven’t been there since the ’90s, and she really wanted to go. Well, she loved it – I think it was her favorite part of the trip.
In the picture, we’re on the ferry boat heading to the island. The tours, which run every half hour most days, are usually completely sold out. When you get to the island, you can walk around to the different building and see what it would have been like to have been a prisoner or a guard there. The warden and some guards (and their families) lived on the island, some lived in San Francisco. The cellblock features an audio tour with narration from former guards and prisoners. The prison closed in the ’60s.
On August 15, 2009, there will be a rally and protest at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, CA. You can find out all the details here. I will be participating and I hope you will, too.
Chevron is a huge corporation that needs to lead the way in building a sustainable energy future and be a good neighbor to the communities that surround its facilities here in Richmond and around the world. There is a broad coalition of community-based groups that are opposing the expansion/re-tooling of the Richmond refinery to refine heavier crude, and are being portrayed in the media as environtmentalists causing the community jobs. The groups need the help of the larger community to win this fight – for their future.
Three things we can do:
While I was in New York in April, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Jenna Freedman at the Barnard Zine Library. The library, which Jenna started in 2003, holds over 2000 zines. Many of them are available in the library and you can just pick one off the shelf and read it. Students of Barnard and Columbia can just walk in to the library – and the collection is open to the public if you call ahead and tell them to expect you (so they will let you in without an ID). You can get all the info on their web page.
I have known Jenna for quite some time but had never visited the library. While the last few months have seemed to kick off a year of meeting and interacting with people and things from my past (like meeting lots of old punks while living in Portland for 3 months, or doing an interview for Mike McKee’s book all about ’90s hardcore, or looking through all my old copies of Fucktooth), visiting this library was particularly nostalgic for me. The collection has quite a few zines by women, and as I flipped through old copies of Emergency, for example, I couldn’t help but remember reading those issues for the first time, and how important they were for me. There were so many zines that were so intimate and personal and important, they really had an impact on me and how I think about myself and interact with people. Of course I haven’t talked to many of those people in eons, and I wonder where Ammi is these days, or Travis Fristoe from America? or Theo Witsell from Spectacle or Mike from In Abandon. Maybe I just need to search Facebook until I find them.
There were tons of old zines that I hadn’t seen in forever, but there were also tons more zines I had never seen – maybe that is the best part of libraries and bookstores, that they give you access to things you would never find otherwise. I loved browsing the zines, old and new, touching and holding them in a way that satisfies like the Internet never will.
Yes, it is true, I have been back in the Bay Area for a few weeks. But honestly, a series of setback, such as my laptop completely dying, have prevented me from making any posts. Really, it was because all my photos are on my laptop and I really don’t like making posts without photos. And let me make a shout-out right now to Apple for how much I love love love the Time Machine part of their operating system. Time Machine is a super-simple back up program that means I back up my entire computer every day, sometimes several times a day. And what it really means is that when I get my new computer (tomorrow??) I will be able to completely restore everything from the old one. It makes me think back to those days when I was in college (15 years ago) and the technology was just not easy and how devastated I was whenever I lost something. Do you back up your computer? You should.
ANYWAY, I wanted to write the part 2 of my epic road trip story, and of course there are a dozen other things to blog about after that. So first of all, after leaving North Carolina, I traveled to New York City, Cleveland, Ohio, and Columbia, Missouri.
So, here we go:
- Clamor. I did a talk on the Clamor pamphlet at Bluestockings Bookstore in Manhattan. First of all, I love Bluestockings. It’s a great space and everyone who I’ve met who works there is awesome. They have a great line-up of events, so definitely a good resource for New York. The Clamor talk was probably my favorite of the whole tour because it was the first time in years that I had been in the same room as co-founder Jason Kucsma and consulting editor Josh Breitbart. That was a real treat, and I thought that they really added insight and depth to the conversation about the magazine, its history and its legacy. The discussion was really great. One of the threads that came out of it was how the pamphlet is really about organizational dynamics and how the project functioned, and doesn’t really reflect the political moment within which Clamor existed. I definitely agree that would be an interesting project, as a lot happened over the seven years we were publishing, and that would help give more political context. I’d like to publish a post of the essence of my talk, but that will have to wait until the new computer arrives. Read the rest of this entry »
OK, so I’m on a massive, random trip around the U.S. And, I’ve been really delinquent about writing about it, and apparently, about taking photos. But, I’m having an amazing time. So far I’ve been to Boston, Philadelphia, and Asheville, NC. Here are some thoughts.
- Blogging v. zines. And, I have a difficult time knowing what to blog about. There are a lot of things I want to say and revelations I’ve had while traveling, but part of me wants to save them all for a future zine, to be printed this summer. When I brought this up with some friends – blog or zine? – a lot of people told me to do both. OK! To me blogging is such a different medium than doing a zine. When I write a zine, or anything for print, I have to put a lot more thought into deciding when the piece is done. I work on it for weeks, going over it all with a fine-toothed comb. When I’m done, it’s done. It’s photocopied or printed and there are no changes. Blogging is not that way, and I approach it in a more quick, flippant way. So yeah, the future zine will be more developed and in depth. If you remember my old zines, they were all like 100 pages long and full of tiny words. Read the rest of this entry »
So, my awesome roommate Max has been in Central America since December. I really miss him, but I’m happy that he’s having an amazing adventure through Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and El Salvador. For the first month, Manjula was with him, and they took tons of awesome photos. I really enjoyed reading their blogs (here and here), and then one day there appeared a photo of Max wearing a Clamor t-shirt! It just felt so great, and it really made me smile.
Well, today I got this email:
this past week, i gave away the clamor shirt
to andres from the island of ustupo in kuna yala
kuna yala is an autonomous indigenous territory in panama on the caribbean coast
kuna yala is 49 communities throughout a group of 366 islands
the kuna won there territory through an armed revolt (la revolucion tuli) on february 21 – 25, 1925, in which they killed all the panamanian colonial police on the islands
andres is a friend of a union organizer friend of mine
he took me around to a bunch of the islands and we drank too much and talked about the revolution
andres has a large collection of che shirts
andres´s grandfather and great grandfather were the main leaders of the revolution
andres´s father is the oldest man alive on the island of ustupo and is a natural medicine healer
i thought this was a good place for the clamor shirt to live
Yes, I think that is a great place for a Clamor shirt to live. Thanks for being so awesome, Max. xo!