Saturday, January 29, 2005

choose your own adventure (part 3)

now: J20 (inauguration day)

you go with the flow. it's 10:30 am now and everything began at 9:00 except for the rally for women's lives. to dupont circle! your group arrives for the end of the rally just in time to join the march. someone suggests that this gathering is all boring liberals and the real action is happening at malcom x park.

do you stick with the dupont circle march and try to shake things up (p.47) or head over to where "everyone else is" so you feel cooler(p.50)?

(p.47) part of this march is a funeral procession for the american soldiers that have died in iraq. people are carrying mock caskets draped in american flags. most of the people in this march are pretty quiet, but you decide to break out the bucket drum anyway and try to make things a bit more interesting. one of the students from bard brought a bullhorn so your group gets things going in a big way, with the "one! we are the people. two! a little bit louder. three..." chant as you and other protest-percussionists keep the beat alive. one of your wooden spoons breaks in half at the get-go though and you wish you had brought real drum sticks. half a spoon will suffice for now.

marching through the streets of dc feels good. you reach a square where other people are drumming like crazy. your group joins them except for one friend who decides to follow the black flags to the unpermitted black bloc march at logan circle. you join the raucous drum circle for a while, simultaneously dancing and banging the bucket. good times. 20 minutes later griffin gets a call from the black bloc march where fit has hit the shan. the cops predictably showed up in full force and are currently brutalizing the black clad comrades with pepper spray and good old fashion beatings.

do you stay at the hippy drum circle blissed out on drum beats (p.55) or meet up with the maimed black bloc folks who are escaping the melee (p.58)?

(p.58) on the way there you reach an intersection where some excellent street theater is being performed. an abu grahib-style prisoner, replete with black mask/robe, is standing on a milk crate with his arms extended at his sides. to the left and right of this prisoner stands two people from the bush administration (with over-sized cut out masks for identification) dancing and cheering.
all four of them are wearing matching "abu grahib fraternity" sweatshirts as a sound system plays classic rock n' roll songs and clips from "animal house." they begin chanting, "toga, toga, toga, toga! toga! toga! toga!" which turns into brutal sounds of torture, transitioned into the anthem "louie, louie"

dc is filled with supporters of bush as well. many of these republicans are wearing tuxedos, cowboy hats, and/or fur coats to make sure you know which side they are on. some of them walked through this intersection looking down at the street and sheilding their children's eyes from the visceral image of the prisoner abuse caused by their heroes. people can't argue with this powerful imagery.

the actual inaugural parade is about to begin. do you wait in line to join the rally along the parade route (p.63) or do you continue to roam freely through the streets of dc playing your drum and freestyling songs with your friends about all the cowboy hats, tuxedos and furcoats (p.68)?

*to be continued...

Friday, January 28, 2005

choose your own adventure (part 2)

it's now: january 19, 2005

you have had a lovely visit in new york city, but the inauguration is quickly approaching.

do you go down to dc today to see one of the greatest bands in the world (p.21) or wait until the day of the inauguration (p.24)?

(p.21) driving down in a carpool with students from bard college, the music is blasting and the gas and tolls are paid for by the school. you are happy, despite the snowy conditions and the existence of new jersey. after a long drive you finally reach the suburban maryland home where you are spending the night. the show downtown has already begun but your group must first figure out logistics for the big day. eventually you escape and griffin is the only other one coming along for the rock. when you reach the show there is good news and bad news: the best people in madison, wisconsin are there to greet you at the door, but they inform you that ghost mice has already played. there's another band from bloomington up next and then defiance, ohio. you haven't eaten all day so the tofu wrap and french fries melt in your mouth during the next band's set.

do you stay sitting at the counter (p.27) or dance your ass off to defiance, ohio (p.32)?

(p.32) the place is packed and it's hard to move or see anything. you and griffin slink through the crowd and end up in between the band and the bathroom line. perfect. they open with "bikes and bridges," the song that amanda lewis put on your mixtape. the whole place goes nuts and there's nowhere else in the world that you'd rather be than this amazing show with good friends and all the inspiration and hope to change the fucking world. it's cold outside but the night is hot.

returning to the house you make a bucket drum for the protest as others make signs to hold and after trying three different rooms you finally find a place to sleep...for a few hours. bush awaits.

do you wake up and leave early to make it to one of the rallies before the march (p.35) or just go with the flow and see what happens when you reach downtown (p.40)?

*to be continued...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

life as a "choose your own adventure" book (part one)

the beginning: january 14th

you are spending two weeks at your mother's home after a wild new year's in nyc. after completing a radical grant application and helping your sister apply to graduate school you begin to contemplate your next move.

do you stay an extra day (p.2) or leave for boston tonight (p.4) to visit your best friend tyler?

*(p.4) the next bus doesn't leave for almost two hours so you find yourself roaming around the cape cod community college campus in the freezing cold just to kill time. it's after 10 pm when you arrive in boston to deliver tyler's passport and catch up on the past couple weeks. eggplant subs are the only late-night food option but this okay. delicious, in fact.

in the morning you call amanda m. to wish her a happy birthday. she is surprised that you remembered as she shops for books in madison, wisconsin. she's not going to mexico anymore so perhaps you will see her in richmond later in the month. after pancakes and vegan sausage you interview tyler's older brother broderick about hating his dilbert job and loving skateboarding still. then you meet erica wells for lunch at the most expensive cafe/bookstore in the western hemisphere. soup du jour will suffice.

do you stay in boston for the rest of the weekend (p.9) or take the chinatown bus immediately to new york city (p.14) to meet griffin to continue your intense e-mail correspondence in person?

*(p.14) dillinger four is playing on your headphones once again as your bus descends on the city that never sleeps. your heart is racing as you navigate through chinatown on your way to bluestockings bookstore. griffin is waiting for you there as her tea is getting cold. she explains how there's too much to discuss and analyze to sleep tonight. special nuggets at the vegan restaurant next door and a coffee date planned for later. the night is spent deconstructing gender and singing against me! songs in the elevator as her neighbors yell "shut up!" from their bedrooms. the sun has risen and the apartment is filled with a chorus of snoring emanating from all directions. the inauguration is four days away.

*to be continued...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

left and leaving

i'm leaving. mixtapes, laundry, letters, last meals. it's time to leave but it seems like i'll be here all winter. soon: buses, interviews, cities, highways, people, going broke.

goodbye for now, cape cod.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

this time, this year is bigger than us.

wow. it's a new year, a new beginning, and i am finally writing here again. yes, i'm back. is it just me or does it feel like the whole world is on winter break right now?

yesterday, i finally finally finally finished my grant application! it came down to a letter of recommendation that was sent via e-mail the night before. but i also thought of a sexy new title for my proposal at the last minute: passions and survival: beyond the capitalist dilemma, toward a new society. hot, right? printed out my writing sample, bibliography, everything and mailed it all to the institute for anarchist studies in quebec. cross your fingers for me, this could change my life.

now i have a few more days left on cape cod. the snow is back but nothing like the blizzard after christmas. before i leave i need to interview my sister, sarah and my friend jared for my project. sarah is an amazing artist who is trying to liberate herself from food industry slavery. i wish she could just have all the time in the world to make her beautiful paintings and not have to worry about paying off bills and all that garbage. jared and i played in a punk band together in high school and he is still rocking out with a new band that has played a lot in the boston-area. but he makes his living cleaning carpets. i'm excited about talking to both of them about their daily dilemmas and their life dreams.

starting this weekend i will be embarking on a tour of sorts. it will kick it off in boston before i take the chinatown bus to new york city. i guess i'll be there for a few days before i head to dc for the counter-inaugural. i hope to interview people during this time.

i'm excited about dc! i'm going down there with all these kids from bard college who are after my time. it's all about bridging those generational gaps. one of my favorite bands: defiance, ohio is playing the night before the inauguration. i can't wait. then after dc i'll be heading down to richmond to meet fellow blogger, substitute-teacher extrordinaire, and mix-tape artist amanda g. lewis. this should be a blast. check out her blog:

after that i'll be going here: --you should join me!

i still miss my friends in madison a lot and am really looking forward to going back there and grounding myself again.

happy new year everyone. i think this is gonna be a good one...