I go to a local art store to buy some stencil board. The worker tells me that they have regulated that product due to its misuse by street artists. To buy some, I’ll have to sign a waiver saying that I won’t use it for illegal reasons. I agree to sign, thinking of a fake name (Wayton?), and the worker tells me that I have to sign with a manager.
I find the manager outside near a pick-up. I ask her what I need to sign and she hands me a piece of scrap paper. She isn’t paying any attention to me when I hand the paper back to her. “Excuse me, here’s the paper.” “What? Oh, sorry. How can I focus with that going on over there.” She motions to the street behind us, and I look over my shoulder.
Someone has be brutally run over. A rolled-up, mangled body lies in the middle of the road, and possessions are strewn about. I think it may have been a homeless person, and turn away in horror. The manager has walked out into the street, well away from the accident, and is crouched down, bawling and talking to herself.
Here’s a colorful shot out of the window of Pod’s room (my current sublet).
If you like ethnic dance and shadow puppetry, come check out World Arts West’s People Like Me, our ONLY PUBLIC SHOWING this Saturday at noon at the Herbst Theater (across from City Hall on Van Ness).
Invite any kids you may know too. I have three comps for the
first people who respond!
March.05 – ELECTRIC VARDO – Blue.Cube.sF
DAS COLLECTIVE = DJ Dragonfly (gatheringforgood.com) + DJ Sep(KPFA/Dub Mission) + DJ Amar (Bansuri.net) bring you an unique Global experience featuring Live Music, DJs, Dance, Visual Art and Culinary Delights. The focus of this opening night will be on the East: South Asia and Beyond, enticing the crowd with infusions of Ragas from the streets of Calcutta complemented by the spicy flavors of Bengal, moving into rhythmic motion with Bhangra dancers, Live Percussion and DJs spinning Tribal Breaks, Exotic House, Global Chill, Middle Eastern Drum & Bass, and rhythms & melodies from the far off saffron scented lands.
Artists for the night include: the DAS Collective (DJs Dragonfly-Amar-Sep), Live Asian percussion ensemble TABLA RASA, Live middle eastern drum & bass masters LUMIN, Guest DJs SOULSALAAM, JIMMY LOVE and members of the DHAMAAL Collective, Dance performance with DHOL RHYTHMS Bhangra Dance Troupe and FREDERIQUE of Belly Groove, plus a special evening Dinner Lounge with live performances by KITUNDU + SUKHADIA on Phonoharp and tabla, and TEED ROCKWELL performing Hindustani Ragas on Chapman Stick. Visuals by DAS Collective Residents, Art installations by JIMMY LOVE, Guest Chef AMAR, and in house Chef STERLING with Liquid Diva SALIE behind the bar.
Cover: $12 after 10pm, $10 before 10pm or with advance purchase (no cover for dinner guests)
Doors: 7pm – Happy Hour 7-8pm (free entry before 8pm)
Dinner w/ live music: 8-10pm, dinner menu will be posted on new website: www.electricvardo.com
Call 415-259-8629 for dinner lounge reservations ($25 prix fixe menu, walk-ins welcome)
Polo’s Blue Cube is at 34 Mason St. in San Francisco.
Event time: 8pm-4am
info., advance tix, dinner reservations: 415-259-8629
Online tix at www.jambasetickets.com
Walking in the rain, back in the Mission to this fancy joint called Medjool (A fancy lounge in a fancy hostel? In the Mission?). Going to meet strangers for a stanger’s birthday gathering. She’s Lars, and the Russian hostess is no help in pointing her out. I recall her image, buried deep in her Tribe profile, and approach her at the bar. She’s cool in black, wearing a fuzzy Kangol hat, and a nice smile She gives me an appreciated hug.
Continue reading “Sat. Wanderings”
In a cafe, Deborah anxiously shows me a long strip of microfilm. As I look at the tiny writing on red film, she tells me how this is a paper that she hasn’t finished yet. I ask her what the paper is for, and she tells me that it is to graduate from a class. Two women behind Deborah are listening to our talk, and one turns to speak with me after Deborah goes to the back of the cafe to be with friends.
The woman tells me that she submitted a hand-drawn comic book to the same professor and passed. She invented an enviromentally-friendly cleaning product, made a comic book about it, and passed the class. She then offers to replace Deborah. I don’t quite understand but then realize that she is offering to be submissive for me. I decline the offer and go visit Deborah.
Deborah has already forgotten the microfilm paper and is hanging with friends. I say goodbye and head out into an imagined city. I’m walking through a poorer part of town to head home, thinking about how I’ll be watching DVDs tonight since I’m so broke. I walk buy a few buildings with quick-tag graffiti, and turn a corner to cut through a wide street that passes a high school.
Sometihing’s just ended in the street. Could be a riot, a drive by; I’m not sure. Upset parents are getting pushed back by plain-clothes security and what looks like armed-school faculty. A group of riot cops, dressed in thick-striped zoot suits, take their clubs off and load in to a van. A janitor opens a metal door out of the street, and then drops it.
Curious, I walk on home, almost going up an alley. Once home, I turn on the TV and watch the news. The female anchor happily says “Newsteam 4 didn’t catch the last violence at our local high school, but we were prepared this time.” They show footage of police beating back students. The first line of students are in wheel chairs, and there’s a second line of students holding chains connected to the chairs. The cops beat the shit out of them.
The news report never says why the protest started, and covers the police fashions instead. One group had nice sweaters under their green protective armor. They interview one of those cops, and I notice that he has no badge number (his sewn badge looks like a logo). The reporter speaks with the principal who, with a holstered gun, acts like nothings wrong. He compares the students to terrorists and admits that his people are well-trained to handle these situations.
I’m working in a corporate environment, but seem to be a temp. People know me, but I am in a different area of the floor from the two guys that need my help. On top of that I have a young girlfriend (I could be younger in this dream) who seems to be spending the day with me at work. She physically resembles my friend J.
The two guys have given me a presentation file to work on. Not hard considering I could do this with my eyes closed, but I am constantly distracted by my girlfriend. She knows people that I work with better than I do (one is a young blonde-haired surfer type), and I am a little jealous. I finish the job and it prints out on a spool printer. I cut out the individual pages to give back to the two guys.
Other dream fragments consist of foreplay with my girlfriend that always gets interrupted. Scenes include a park by a fountain, a condo or hotel room, and the place where I worked. Everywhere we go she knows people or is distracted by other people.
Dream fragments from this weekend:
My wife and I are on a boat in the ocean. Neither one of us knows how to drive it, so Joel S. shows up just in time to get us to safety. He immediately drives the boat into a wave and we get sucked in to it. My wife and I are OK but Joel has disappeared. I take the wheel and get us out of there.
My wife and I are in a building and unable to get out. There is something prowling outside and we do not know what it is.
I just caught the documentary The Take, a story about a group of workers’ struggle to take over their former work place. If you don’t know, Argentina has had a wild 21st century: protests, bank closures, disenfranchised middle class, many presidents (at least 5), massive layoffs and factory closures due to IMF restructuring, etc.
Some of the laid off workers went back to their closed factories and took them over as coops run by assemblies. The model differs according to the group who runs the different business, but they are all worker-owned.
For several years now, I have researched Argentina’s worker coop movement. There hasn’t been too much documentation in English until recently, and The Take is a great introduction for anyone who is interested in actual options other than the free market’s IMF/WTO, etc. model. There isn’t much else in English yet, but you could also scrape the Indymedia site for posts.
Author Marina Sitrin has published some of her research in The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest for an upcoming book about Argentina’s autonomous movement. AK Press has a video from Indymedia Argentina about the movement as well. It has English subtitles.
So I hope that you all try to catch The Take if it’s playing near you. I am blessed to be in a part of the world that has many forms of coops. Working for CELLspace has also been a huge experience on how to work with different systems. CELLspace has been a collective from the beginning.
I’ll probably touch on this form of organization again, because I hope to find more on the Argentina model. I also want to talk about the same model in reference to the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.
The BBC just reported that “China has overtaken the US in the consumption of basic agricultural and industrial goods, a [Earth Policy Institute] survey has found.” While this is happening Bill Gates, the richest person in the world, “commended China as the great ‘change agent’ in the world over the next 20 years and praised its ‘brand-new form of capitalism'” at the recent economic conference in Davos. Here on the West Coast of North America, China’s culture and influence is easily felt, but during my recent visit to South Carolina, I don’t think my relatives can quite grasp what Bill Gates is so excited about.
I won’t throw out alot of economic statistics, but a few figures are impressive: according to USA Today “China held $191 billion in U.S. debt in 2004.” This means that our government is borrowing from China and paying back the interest. Americanprogress.org states “[in 2004] China will sell the U.S. about $187 billion in products and buy only about $32 billion back running a bilateral trade surplus of more than $154 billion.” This is the huge trade debt that you might hear about every 4 months on mainstream news.
If you just put these two statistics together, along with the fact that China is now the largest consumer nation in the world, then one can easily tell that the US is at or headed to secondary status as a world player. As an environmentalist, this concerns me. While the median income erodes here in the US, environmental regulations will erode as well. Why? Just like busting union wages, environmental regulations will be eased so Amercian companies can at least attempt to compete with China’s booming free market.
Right now, there are almost no environmental or labor regulations in China. The same BBC article states “according to investigators, Chinese factories process one stolen Indonesian log every minute of every working day…. Coal-fired power plants supply much of the country’s energy and according to government estimates, 60% of Chinese cities have serious air pollution problems…. Experts also say that more than three-quarters of the water flowing through China’s cities is unsuitable for drinking because of pollution from industrial waste.” According to a US Deptartment of Labor report “the Chinese Ministry of Labor admitted that the situation regarding the employment of child laborers was ‘very serious’ throughout the country.”
I won’t even get into China’s modernization of their military, but I will conclude by saying that capitalism is a viscious system. Just like the gold rush frenzies that took hold of North America, and before that Europe, the human desire to capitalize on other’s labor and earth’s resources creates winners and losers. This oncoming gold rush will leave average Americans in the dust, while folks like Bill Gates, and his Chinese counterparts, will do just fine.