Make Art, Not War

Saturday, February 25, 2012

spring around the bend

So it's a sunny, cold day in February and Spring is just around the corner. I know that winter this year has been a tame beast, but I'm ready for Spring. I am starting to think about my garden, and this season of Occupy, and of all things improving for the sake of more sunshine. I am also happy to be writing again! Its time to get some things I've been tossing around actually off the ground. It's funny, because winter is supposed to be the time we turn in and create our best work. But this winter was never that bad, the cabin fever never set it.
But I am happy to have some upcoming events to get ready for! For a busy bee like me, that is just the motivation I need to get some good work done.
I was just asked to "do a reading" at a Women's day event. I like the inaccuracy of that. I don't "read" the poems, I spit them at you. I shout and curse.
It's the stuff of open mic nights, not exactly a "reading", but in any case I'm excited.
I was also asked to do a poem or two at a fundraiser that MPAC (Minnesota Peace Action Coalition) is doing in April. It will be our usual gathering at The Black Dog cafe (good coffee and good politics) and the funds will go to sending people to Chicago for the NATO/G8 protest later in May. The only problem, really, is that i don't have any new material.
So good things ahead! Just got to sit down and write it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An (amended yet again) Open Letter

In the latest version of my poem An Open Letter to the FBI I've included a quick remark about Ernest Hemingway. I did not mean for this to be some obscure gesture toward the fact that the FBI spys on our celebrities too. It is actually a recent article published in the New York Times by a close friend of Hemingway's, and I think it deserves mention. In July of 2011, A. E. Hotchner told us the truth about what happen to the famous writer in the last years of his life. (I strongly suggest that you read it for yourself: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/opinion/02hotchner.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all )
It tells of how Hemingway was hounded by the government for trips that he took to Cuba. That Hemingway knew this, and was paranoid and depressed, and eventually ended his own life. At the time no one believed him. But because of a recent FOIA request having gone public (that's Freedom Of Information Act) the whole thing turns out to be true!
It is disturbing and alarming that our government was and is capable of harassing a man into ending his own life. That it is a tactic that they use (as you may know, Dr. Martin Luther King also received phone calls from the Feds suggesting he give up now and take his own life).
But the other thing that really bothers me about this, is that it demonstrates how commonplace this kind of repression is. That this is how our government has conducted itself since the McCarthy era, and that to this day it continues.
Tonight is the Concert/Cd release party for the Committee to Stop FBI repression, and I am really looking forward. I am going to do this poem at the show (yippie!) and its ganna be great. But I do just want to take a moment to point out how serious the situation really is. We have to spread this message far and wide (before they scrub the Internet of its existence). This cannot be allowed to continue. We need to stand up to them. The people should not be afraid of their government, the government should be afraid of its people.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

5 good reasons why YOU should come to the show next Saturday

1. All of the coolest organizers in the Twin Cities are going to be there. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression is comprised of many groups, as well as ordinary citizens, who see these attacks of the anti-war movement as attacks on us all. Working for peace and justice is not a crime in this country. Yet, with the recent treatment of Occupy protesters, the passing of the NDAA, and the new laws in place in Chicago in preparation for the NATO/G8 protests this Spring, it is clear that state repression is a hot topic.
Come and support the national group that wants to put a stop to it.

2. We have an awesome line up and it is going to be an amazing show. This concert is ganna be a blast! Featuring Guante and DJ Shannon Blowtorch, there will also be performances by James Houck, Housepet, The Running Riot, Dead Skull and poetry by yours truly! I am so excited to be a part of this project and to have one of my poems on this album. I think that art and creativity are what makes our movements strong. And the chance to put all these things together like this is the reason I am an activist. It's the reason I write poetry. Music with a message, and a fun night out that makes a real difference. What else where you going to do this weekend?

3. The benefit album is so good, you want an actual copy not just the download. I mean, what's not to love? There is definitely something for everyone on this album. It features new music from local artists, who have all donated their talents to this cause. In fact, the whole production- from making flyers to finding a venue- has been an amazing community effort. Come celebrate the release with us, and help us raise some money for future organizing efforts. Besides concerts, the CSFR brings you more protests, community dinners, out reach and good old grassroots organizing. Not every CD in your collection can do all that.

4. Not only will the CD be there for sale, so will all our other merch! This is your chance to get CSFR t-shirts, hoodies, buttons and stickers as well! Remember this is a fundraiser, people. You definitely want to check out the table in the back of the room. We also tend to carry a lot of informational flyers, and you can get up to date on the case and all our upcoming events. Sign the petition and get on our email list (and you don't have to wait for the concert to like us on facebook!)

5. FBI repression: you could be doing more. The fact is, this is serious business. We wouldn't be here today without the support of our friends and community, and we need all the help we can get. Political dissent is not a crime, in fact, it is essential to a working democracy. Help us defend our rights to speak, assemble and associate freely. These 23 people standing up to the Grand Jury, are being targeted for their work as organizers, something that in times like these is desperately needed.
Together we can do something about it.
To do it together, we need you.

Now, don't worry. If you absolutely cannot make it to the show this Saturday, you can still download the album at http://www.stopfbi.bandcamp.com/
And, of course, you can always donate directly to us on our website http://www.stopfbi.net/
(Money helps, but we like volunteers more).
Hope to see you at the show!