Anais - my older sister - and I occupied the table over Thanksgiving dinner with talk of OWS. She does not approve of the occupy movement herself, but at least there was constructive dialogue being shared - something that I hope will be a mark of the #occupy phenomenon (in addition to pooping on cop cars).
My younger sister, Amy, is not so disposed to talking of politics and she surely had other things on her mind. Her own wedding was scheduled for the day after next. We spent all of Buy Nothing Day preparing for the wedding and there were no cars available for my use. Otherwise I would have loved to check out Occupy Miami and play some Zombie Music for them. Instead I got a lot more guitar practice in for the wedding, since I was to provide all the music for the ceremony.
At the reception I ate lots of food and drank lots of champagne, took plenty of pics in the picture booth, did some dancing, played hide-and-seek with my neice, and rode the limo back to my new brother-in-law's parents' home to talk politics with people I hardly know. They'd had lots of champagne too, I guess.
The next stop on my tour was supposed to be Cocoa Beach, but I had not secured a venue and the Occupy Space Coast crew wouldn't meet for their weekly GA til Tuesday. The Melbourne occupation, however, was meeting on Monday night and my friend Heather was headed that way on Sunday afternoon. So I hitched a ride with her, shared a bar-b-q dinner with her family, and stayed the night at her folks' house. The next morning they dropped me off at Sun Shoppe, a coffee house where the Occupy Melbourne group gathered for their weekly GA. I took advantage of the free wi-fi all day, waiting for my revolutionary sun-bathing friends.
The manager allowed me to start playing well before the GA began. He said that there wouldn't be any time to play after the meeting, as the meetings often run overtime. I played covers as boomer-aged Melbourne occupiers trickled into the venue. Once there were a few dedicated listeners, I broke out a few Protest Songs. The songs took them back to an age where protest music was not so scarce. They were very appreciative and several people bought my album.
The GA itself was really... different. From other GAs I've participated in, I mean. Most of the occupiers were middle-aged or older. The few who were closer to my age did not seem to get as much respect as they would at, say, the Wall Street occupation. Especially for their obviously superior understanding of the values and process espoused by the broader occupy movement and the level of commitment these young occupiers were contributing to the cause. They seemed to be the most dedicated, yet the least regarded.
And on top of this ageistic vibe, there was the glaringly obvious fact that everyone at this meeting was white.
Some people had views and agendas more typical of Tea Party folks. I would probably disagree with these folks on a number of issues, but I appreciated their solidarity. The facilitators did a great job of making sure that everyone's voice was heard, perhaps to a fault; there was some discussion after the formal GA about respecting the process, as well as peoples' schedules, and controlling soapboxing.
I spent that night with one of the Melbourne occupiers, a young woman who had taken on much of the press and public relations. She was the person I originally contacted so that the occupiers in Melbourne would expect my arrival and performance. She was awesome: she helped me coordinate my music with the GA, bought me breakfast, and dropped me off at a rest area on the interstate.
I didn't have a ride to my next destination, St. Augustine - or to any of the other cities on the path back to NYC, for that matter - so I would be hitch hiking much of the rest of the tour.