Here's the report for Chicago & Iowa City, mostly put together on the megabus en route to Omaha. Enjoy!
Greetings from Omaha!
Here's the report for Chicago & Iowa City, mostly put together on the megabus en route to Omaha. Enjoy!
here are the #ontheroad reports from Kansas City & St Louis:
We have since been to Chicago, Iowa City, and we're moving fast. Omaha, NE tomorrow. Des Moines on Monday and completing the loop to Chicago for May 1! Of course I'll have these reports for you later.
In the mean time, enjoy these videos from the house show at Rondevu in Kansas City!
Those Anarcho Punks (Against Me! cover)
Canta Y No Llores
Attempting to play Jimmy Buffet
Psychology of a Bike Wreck Survivor
Sing At The Top Of Your Lungs
we're in Chicago right now, taking a lazy day before the show tonight at Uncommon Ground. I'm working on video updates from KC and St Louis, but in the mean time, here's a short update from the looong day walking/busing from Memphis to Kansas City.
Sorry for the long delay. I actually intend to post these videos every 2 cities, but I got behind. So here's the report for Chattanooga, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Memphis - our southern cities.
On April 14, 2012, I played at Knoxville's daily matinee music showcase, Blue Plate Special, broadcast on WDVX 89.9 fm. I kicked it off with one of my new songs, and the namesake of this tour, On The Road. I plan to record it for my first full length album this summer.
We had trouble uploading videos to youtube... drove me a little bonkers. But I've finally figured it out! So here are the tour updates from DC and Knoxville. I'll post news on Chattanooga and Atlanta soon. Stay tuned!
I'm #ontheroad! So much to talk about, tour updates coming soon :D But first, some backlogged items. There's a LOT of new stuff to tell the world wide web about.
I spent the days leading up to the tour pressing CDs of my Clown Of God show, so that I would have some to sell as I traveled. The music was available as a free download on NoiseTrade for all of March and through April 11. It's too late now to download the music, but you can still stream the entire soundtrack on YouTube. Here's the finale video.
The Clown Of God soundtrack was replaced on NoiseTrade by a new album, Live At Occupy Raleigh! << click the link to download this new album for FREE (or leave a tip!) The songs were recorded on video at Occupy Raleigh, on December 4, 2011. I pulled the audio and mastered it a bit to throw it up on NoiseTrade. Please download and enjoy! Here's the track list of all original music:
I've written a couple of new entries. Check out the latest on the Matt 6:24 blog, a post about my final task at my last apartment: Freegan Origami. And a blog on the Kitchen Sink blog about my Heights church community, how they launched me #ontheroad with their generosity, hospitality, and all-around awesomeness.
EXACTLY one year ago today I posted a new poem, inspired by Isaiah 40:8 and Matthew 6:28-30. I've reworked it a bit so that it has rhyme and meter. It will almost certainly be set to music and included on my first full-length album, Simple Songs For Simple Living, to be recorded this summer. Check it:
God clothes all the lilies,
though they will one day fall.
So I, a humble sunflower,
will stand to heed the call -
to set my gaze upon the Son
as I ponder my fate -
so when beneath the pall I'll know
ever unclouded grace.
Here's the itinerary for my impending spring tour, to span much of April and May. Dates/cities in bold are those which I have NOT been able to book yet. Any help with these cities would be greatly appreciated!
April 12 - Wasted Dream, Washington DC
April 14 - Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, TN
April 14 - The Birdhouse, Knoxville, TN
April 15 - The Creek, Chattanooga, TN
April 17 - WonderRoot, Atlanta, GA
April 18 - Parkside Cafe, Birmingham, AL
April 19 - Court House, Memphis, TN
April 21- The Rondevu, Kansas City, MO
April 24 - Pink Asterisk, St Louis, MO
April 26 - Uncommon Ground, Chicago, IL
April 27 - Uptown Bill's, Iowa City, IA
April 28 - Farnam House, Omaha, NE
April 30 - Occupy Des Moines, IA
May 1 - Occupy May Day, Chicago, IL
May 4 - Electric Earth Cafe, Madison, WI
May 5 - Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis, WI
May 6 - Brewing Grounds, Milwaukee, WI
May 8 - The Laundry Shoot, Milwaukee, WI
May 10 - Revolution Collective, Toledo, OH
May 11 - The Root, Cleveland, OH
May 12 - Front Porch, Akron, OH
May 14 - Kafe Kerouac, Columbus, OH
May 15 - House show, Cincinnati, OH
May 16 - House show, Indianapolis, IN
May 18 - Swing State, Chicago, IL
May 19-20 - NATO Summit & related events/protests in Chicago
May 21 - Pittsburgh or State College, PA
May 24 - Word Up Books, NYC
that's NOT me sitting there..
I'm sure there are plenty of actions being planned right now, to which I am totally oblivious. The Occupy movement has indeed grown exponentially since September and there's hardly telling the scope and degree to which people are mobilizing across the city and across the world in the coming seasons. So this blog is by no means intended to present an exhaustive list of actions. Quite the contrary, actually - I only wish to detail particular actions to which I've found myself ideologically and inextricably connected.
When I decided in October to occupy my own life back in Washington Heights, it meant a physical disconnect from the goings on in the financial district. I kept up to speed through facebook and twitter, but I largely devoted my energies to volunteering at Word Up Books, serving my local church community (the TGC Heights plant launched on Saturday, woot!), working for my roommate, busking, planning road shows and writing new music. Like so many other occupiers, I put OWS on the back burner for the winter.
I'm still fairly distant (both geographically and tactically) from the actions at Zuccotti Park and Union Square. But I am again grafting my energies (and presently my writing) to the Occupy movement here in NYC as the city warms with the spring.
My involvement in present actions began just as it did last September: a mass email from one of the freegan.info organizers. The message was to notify us of a seminar being held at Union Theological Seminary on the Biblical basis for squatting and reclaiming land.
The man in charge of the seminar was an educator and activist, a minister with decades of squatting experience in the Lower East Side and the South Bronx. He has since started Organizing 4 Occupation (O4O), an activist group dedicated to reclaiming and occupying unused land and property on behalf of the homeless. I've been interested in squatting for many years now but I had never heard an explanation or justification through the filter of the Christian faith. So I was certainly intrigued by this man and the seminar he was to lead.
The seminar also featured speakers from an organization called Picture The Homeless, which seems like a great program run for the homeless by the homeless themselves. I don't know too much about PTH at this point, but I do hope to learn and be more involved with them in the future. The seminar overall was rather inspiring and I resolved to also be involved with O4O in the near future.
So I jumped at the first opportunity: a so-called foreclosure auction blockade at the county courthouse in Queens, organized by O4O and students from Union Theological. As far as I could tell, it involved civil disobedience to stop banks from fraudulently selling off poor folks' homes. And it involved singing. So I was on board.
A few days before the action, I attended the training and information session, again at Union Theological. I learned the song that we were to sing, a beautiful lament in solidarity with distressed homeowners:
All the people here
We're asking you to hold all the sales right now
We're going to survive but we don't know how...
Listen auctioneer... (repeat indefinitely)
the queue at the court house
I was so moved by the song and the sincerity, compassion and devotion in the hearts of the people involved with the action, that I knew I could not pass up this opportunity.
The auctions themselves are actually open to the public so there's nothing illegal about simply being present. I at least wanted to be a witness, to watch and be in solidarity, even to document. I wasn't sure whether I would willfully risk arrest until the very day of. I also wanted to sing, to use my voice as a chisel, chipping away at injustice, but I determined that it would not be in anyone's best interest for me to be arrested that day. So I committed instead to shooting video of the action (also illegal but probably easier to get away with) and otherwise keeping quiet and still.
The security team at that courthouse in Queens was well prepared for us. They quickly (efficiently) checked all our phones and recording devices at the door, ensuring that we would not get away with any footage at all. As it turned out, the owners of the properties that were on the auction block had filed for bankruptcy, so all the auctions were cancelled for the day anyway and nobody sang their way into handcuffs. But I was relieved and excited to learn there was another action planned for the Bronx just a few days later, supported by OWS.
I was one of about fifty people who came out for this action - impressive, considering that there was probably no more than three or four investors there to actually do business. Our phones (and hats and pens and etc) were again checked at the door, a queue which occupied the entire hallway and forty-five minutes of processing. I saw several of the occupiers that had shared the grounds with me at Zuccotti. They were energized as ever.
We all found our seats in the court room and quietly waited for the proceedings to begin. At least a dozen officers stood around the room with clusters of zip ties at the ready. We were warned that any disturbance would be against the law and offenders would be arrested. Then the show began.
As the auctioneer began calling out for starting bids, dozens of voices chimed in protest, petitioning for a halt to the sales, a halt to the exploitation and injustice: "we're asking you to hold all the sales right now. We're going to survive but we don't know how." And they were arrested, one by one, escorted calmly out of the court room. After about fifteen minutes and twenty-five arrests, the auctioneer announced that the auction was over - they had somehow completed the sale, even over the cacophony of this choir for justice.
We sing on. Further actions will take place on April 16-20 and I highly encourage others to participate, especially since I'll be #ontheroad myself, unable to attend. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the housing crisis, bank corruption and greed, and most importantly how these are adversely affecting the poor in our communities. It's also a great way to stand in solidarity with the poor and effectually stop their unjust displacement. It's true that our action was essentially unsuccessful - this time. But I anticipate that with creative changes in tactics and growing numbers, we can and will beat the banks.
And let me just repeat: there is nothing illegal, at all, about being physically present at the auction even if you don't intend to make a bid. It's totally open to the public. So there is no real risk of getting arrested unless one is singing. SO: if you are interested in learning more about the actions but not sure whether you'd want to risk arrest, then I definitely suggest checking it out and being a witness! Here's hoping that the actions will grow in participation and support in the coming weeks. Please check out this link for more info!
Thanks for following these posts. Believe it or not, there is yet one more entry regarding spring actions in solidarity with the Occupy movement. That is soon to come, stay tuned!
NYC-based musician, writer, busker, freegan, revolutionary.