Abril 30, 2006

May 1st Pamphlet

For the past couple weeks I've been working with folks from AZ Indymedia, Dry River Collective, and Organic Collective in San Diego to produce a bilingual pamphlet that would inform people about the historical/political context of May Day, relating the current immigrant rights upswell to other struggles both past and present. We're going to be printing up a few thousand copies in Tucson today, but we have it available as a downloadable PDF file. It's an 11x17 double-sided design that we're encouraging groups in other cities to download, print, and distribute on May 1.

In a phone conversation the other day a friend said (i'm paraphrasing) that he saw himself in his current situation at his new job at a giant spanish-language media company as getting a chance to move the discourse or rhetoric or identity definitions around this amazing new civil rights movement by some small distance, just nudge it a little. I said that's what everyone's trying to do right now, from national politicians to punk zinesters. So, this pamphlet is part of my microscopic nudging. enjoy.

Posted by steev at 06:01 AM | Comments (1)

Abril 28, 2006

"On The Edge" Update

There are a few recent developments regarding my film about the Juárez femicide that I haven't blogged about so I thought I would do so today.

  • The DVD is going to be released by a record label that wants to expand into publishing documentaries. I'm excited. The official release won't be till early August, but this may be good because that's roughly the time that some are predicting that "Bordertown," the J-Lo flick about the situation, will be coming out.
  • A new cover for the DVD is being designed. It's a new experience for me working with a professional who is not a friend and who's aesthetic i'm not familiar with. We'll see how it turns out.
  • I talked to someone at Al-Jazeera International last week. This is the new english-language satellite/cable network that is just launching, based in Doha, Kuala Lampur, D.C., and London. There's interest in airing my film or parts of it. I sent a copy, need to follow up on that.
  • Tonight I'm borrowing a car and driving 2 hours to Bisbee to show the film there. Bisbee is a small ex-coppermining town that now is sort of a hippie/retirement/tourism haven. cute little old-fashioned downtown. I hope some people show up. I wish I wasn't going alone. :-( Fortunately it's early and i'll get back to Tucson at a reasonable hour in time to go to a friend's going away party. (there it is again - everyone leaving Tucson as summer approaches. sad.)
  • Tommorow, the film is screening in Arivaca, a tiny little ranching town about 45 minutes south of Tucson. It's part of an all-day "film expo" that is happening.
  • Also tommorrow I'll be on a panel discussion about activist filmmaking as part of the Arizona International Film Festival here in Tucson. I'm going to show a short clip from the film and talk about working with activist groups involved with the Juárez situation.

    So, things are busy with the film. yay. keep checking the film's page for constant updates.

    Posted by steev at 08:37 AM | Comments (0)
  • Abril 27, 2006

    Pirate Radio in My Hometown

    Saw a story about a pirate radio station basically in my home town, on Phlegm's blog (out of Urbana, Illinois), getting hassled by the FCC due to complaints from Clear Channel and Cumulus. And they're fighting back in interesting ways!

    I say basically because it's in Bettendorf, one of the the 4 Quad Cities. I grew up in Davenport, the other quad city on the Iowa side of the river.

    Who woulda thunk, pirate radio there? One set of my parents live in Bettendorf and they said it's been big news there.

    Posted by steev at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 25, 2006

    crazy crazy times

    This week is proving insane for me: AZ Intl film fest started last week & is going through sunday; working with small adhoc group on a pamphlet for May Day that will be providing a radical context for the immigration rights struggles going on; getting more involved with No More Deaths, talking with them about a new media strategy; financial meltdown; dealing with all the bureaucracy and logistics of getting my DVD pressed; dealing with other possible opportunities involving my film; trying to think hard about a career choice a friend has unexpectedly thrown my way; and trying hard while i have all this other stuff to do during the day to not think too much about this special person who just made my life 10 times more interesting and complicated exactly 4 weeks ago today.... sigh...

    Posted by steev at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 24, 2006


    It's so silly when people who have blogs but only write in them sporadically start every entry with something like "I haven't been blogging much, sorry." It's exactly like those zines that start every issue with an editorial that apologizes for being so late. I mean, come on - it's not like this is your job or someone paid you to meet a deadline. Newsflash: every single zine is always late. Unless you make a living from your blog, lighten up and stop apologizing.

    I suppose it's sort of a wishful ego impulse. Everyone wants to believe that there are friends and/or secret admirers and/or colleagues just waiting, checking every morning, for some new nugget of wisdom or juicy life detail on one's blog. And every morning for 34 days they are disappointed, so of course one should give some apology and explanation, like "I've been doing more productive things." That'll make 'em feel better. Maybe get them to realize they're wasting too much time checking blogs. If you can't write 'em, why should they read them? Indeed.

    Posted by steev at 07:35 AM | Comments (1)

    Dance, Monkeys

    A nice little video about humans and what's wrong with them. I guess it's been going around the net quite a lot, so, sorry if you've already seen it. i'm not perfect. I'm just a monkey.

    Posted by steev at 06:48 AM | Comments (2)

    Abril 22, 2006

    Ground Zero for Immigration

    IMG_4236.JPGOne thing I forgot to mention in my blog entry last night about the film "Crossing Arizona" was something ACLU legal observer Ray Ybarra said at the beginning of it: "If you want to understand immigration in this country, come to Arizona."

    That underscores what I've been realizing more and more recently. The more I learn about the immigration issue and especially undocumented migrants and dying border crossers, the more I realize that ground zero is right here in southern Arizona. Over half of the border crossing deaths every year are in Arizona.

    When I moved here I knew the issue was big here, but had not seen statistics like that. I didn't know that, far more than in any other border state, a huge percentage of the land within 100 miles of the border is federal land. And there are all sorts of other facts and figures I can throw out but I haven't had breakfast yet. Basically though, this is the place.

    Posted by steev at 06:54 AM | Comments (1)

    Abril 21, 2006

    Crossing Arizona

    Tonite was the first real night of the Arizona International Film Festival and I went to see the opening film, "Crossing Arizona," which is a pretty great documentary about immigration, specifically focused on Arizona and the border here. It's pretty well done. It's low budget, shot on DV, took them 2 years to do it. I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in border and immigration stuff, and if you're in the SF Bay area, it's being shown there now till the 27th at the Roxie. It's not a perfect film. They're a little too easy on the Border Patrol, and I think they didn't spend enough time on root causes like economics. But overall it's very good, and I hope it gets out to a ton of people and helps to raise awareness. It's a very moving film and I got choked up several times.

    Tommorrow is going to be busy. I'm going to a filmmaker's breakfast that the festival is doing, and then going to a little bit of the community Earth Day festivities, and then the summer planning meeting for No More Deaths is happening. I've been wanting to get more involved in No More Deaths and this is probably going to be a good way to start. Then in the evening is the annual Earth First Journal Pie Party and Fundraiser. That should be lots of fun.

    Posted by steev at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

    Abril 20, 2006

    A Good Day For My Ego

    Today I was in the bathroom at Epic Cafe and noticed some new graffiti, and it was about me:
    graffiti about me
    Very weird. Very funny. A German pun on my name. I immediately thought I knew who my humorous admirer was. But as soon as I got back to my table I emailed her a question about it, and she denied doing it. Claimed any graf about me that she wrote would be much more poetic. And besides, she'd already left a note for me somewhere else that I'd found earlier today.

    So it's some secret admirer, or just a joker with a Sharpie and a little knowledge of German. Or I did it, and then forgot about it. The writing kind of looks like mine. Maybe I'm like the guy in that film Memento. Hmm.

    And also today I found something on another Indyblogger's blog that I wondered if it had something to do with me, but thought I was being egocentric to think that. Found out later, yeah, it was inspired by stuff I'd been writing here in my blog. Small world. I will leave it as an excercise to the reader (who gives a damn, and of course you do, right?) to find which blogger I'm talking about.

    Posted by steev at 05:56 PM | Comments (2)

    Abril 19, 2006

    Indypendent Publishes My NAFTA piece - sort of

    The Indypendent, NYC Indymedia's print publication, published a big spread about immigration that was a collaboration between me and 2 other Arizona Indymedia volunteers here in Tucson. I wrote the NAFTA sidebar. They chopped it up quite a bit, dropped some stuff out, and added some other stuff. I haven't decided if it's better or worse but it's different enough that I don't know if I should be alone on the byline. Strange feeling to have with an Indymedia publication.

    The basic idea of the article is the same though - NAFTA forced tons of farmers off their land, and ruined the corn business there. And I can claim responsibility for obtaining the excellent quote from Tom Hansen of Mexico Solidarity Network.

    Posted by steev at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

    Varias Cosas de Ayer

    Yesterday I ran around doing stupid errands and then went home and actually got some paying work done, which is a big accomplishment. Pretty important, since I'm pretty broke.

    In the evening I went to spanish class at Dry River. First time I'd gone in a few weeks. I really should try to go more. It's a nice casual thing that Varo runs. He gets other native speakers to come and help teach too. We watched part of a little video by Guillermo Gomez-Pena called La Frontera es La Lenguaje that someone had brought, she'd found out about him in an art class. I mentioned I'd seen him perform twice, once in San Francisco and once in Portland. Sometimes it's really weird, to have so many different experiences, because of my age and all the places i've lived and different "careers" I've had, such that these things get brought up as extremely "out there" but I'm already really familiar with them. Sometimes I'm worried that by expressing my familiarity I'm sort of squashing the youthful enthusiasm for some newly-discovered bit of coolness that the other person has. I'm sorry to sound like such an aging hipster. Just trying to be honest about my experience.

    After the class I went over to the Earth First! Journal office to help with the mailing of the new issue. They were pretty much done with everything but one task, which I helped with: hauling big boxes of copies to FedEx to ship to retailers. This issue of the journal was produced car-free. All the shopping for the office and the hauling of copies back from the printer and out to be mailed, was all pedal-powered. Very cool. I hitched a trailer to my bike and was one of 5 people who transported about 20 reams of copies in boxes a couple miles. It was fun. We cut through campus, and the big 2-person, 4-wheeled "bike car" that Jonathan and Shanti "drove" just barely fit through between the metal posts designed to keep regular cars out. But we made it.

    The other special thing about this issue of the Journal is it has something written by me in it. They asked me to write a review of "The Snowbowl Effect" and I suggested I also review "Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege" because it's about a similar issue and was made very recently too. They agreed to that and it was a good experience working with the editing collective. If you told me 2 years ago I'd have an article in the EFJ I would have probably smiled in disbelief. I just never expected it.

    Posted by steev at 07:34 AM | Comments (2)

    Abril 18, 2006

    Heading Toward A Cliff

    This is an observation about Tucsonans and climate-induced culture, and a comparison with the same for Portlanders, and some related personal stuff too.

    It's been a long time since I've lived somewhere with such a transitory population. It's really really weird. All winter I'd been watching all the crusty punks and traveller kids as well as the grey-haired snowbirds, all drifting into town to take refuge from the bitter claws of winter. And in fact, wasn't I here for that reason? Yes, except for the fact that I moved here "for good." I had no plan to wrap up my bindle and hop a freight back out come springtime. I wanted to make Tucson my home.

    It's only mid-april and it's getting into the 80s. As summer creeps nearer like a heat mirage far off down a highway, more and more people are talking about their plans for the summer. Their desparate or not-so-desparate schemes to escape the heat are percolating through the social circles, as well as plans of others who will be left behind to carry on in what sounds, to my novice mind, like an empty shell of a city. Art and culture organizations, even activist organizations like the Tucson Peace Center, simply shut down, stop publishing, stop scheduling events. It feels.... fickle, to me... but what do I know, being so new to town?

    Of course for other activists it's the busiest time, when the border crossing deaths start spiking.

    It all seems like a cliff or a wall, a giant ominous deadline made of weather. Since I don't know fully what to expect, I don't feel it as strongly as some, but it feels very similar to how Portland feels in the fall to me. Instead of the start of the 9-month, chilly, rainy season, it's the start of a 5-month blast of heat. The difference is that in Portland, no one except a few malcontents like myself really seem to mind. People just appear to be resigned to it. Here, I feel like there is an underlying zeitgeist akin to rats leaving a sinking ship. Get out, before the heat comes! It's SO STRANGE.

    This ominous cliff is perhaps taller and darker to me for personal reasons too: the woman I've been starting something with is going to be gone the whole month of July. And who knows what will happen then. She made it clear that she wants to be free to meet someone else, some hypothetical other romance that might happen during her planned July adventure. Which is fine with me. But it puts another odd sort of deadline in my life. No, deadline isn't the right word; perhaps: expiration date. perhaps. And that's weird. I've never had a relationship like that.

    But anyway, I figured out why it's this way, these 2 cultures. People don't come to Portland for the climate. They come in spite of it. The kind of people who come to Portland and stay are the people who can handle it. Some may grumble a bit, but for the most part the climate has selected people who don't care. They drink a lot of coffee and beer, hunker down in their nests and breed, or make art, or work, and they get by. I will never understand those people (even those in Portland who are really good friends), just like I don't understand people who live in Alaska. But they exist, and I guess it's lucky they do.

    On the other hand, the kind of people that come to Tucson are just the opposite. They come because of climate. And the kind of people who will come for climate, will go for climate. Of course. Tucson is the perfect migrant community, in more ways than one. Tucson is one of the few places in this country where it's wonderful in the winter while almost everywhere else sucks. And, it's one of the few places where in the summer, according to some, it sucks and almost everywhere else is wonderful.

    I've never lived anywhere like that, except maybe Austin - for one summer. Some friends who came to visit said it was intolerably hot there in August, but I didn't think it was too much worse than summer where I grew up, in Iowa. And I've always said that I much prefer extreme heat to extreme cold. So, part of me just wants to live through it, at least once, and see what it's like. And really enjoy the deserted desert quiet of the emptied-out city.

    However, I also have the travelling itch, and I sort of miss Portland and have been wanting to go back there for at least a couple weeks when it's nice there, and also maybe do a brief west-coast tour with my film.

    So I may compromise. No big exodus away for any huge length of time. Just a few weeks in July. Then come back in time to experience the famous monsoons, and see what else happens.

    I just wondered to myself, about that cliff: the question is, am I rushing toward it from the bottom, to slam into the wall, or coming toward the edge from the top, to soar off and fall? mixed metaphors of limited utility. But thinking this way makes me realize I shouldn't be thinking this way; So fatalistic, so filled with dread. That's bad. One should live each day in that day, acknowledging the fragile temporality of life but not letting the future chew into the present. Enjoy the moment. Maybe this is what Burroughs meant when he wrote, "If you cut into the present, the future will leak out."

    Posted by steev at 07:08 AM | Comments (2)

    Abril 17, 2006

    image flood

    Alba-quirky - 15
    I just caught up to only 2 weeks behind on uploading my photos. upload speeds at home really kind of suck, i've decided. i guess i should go to cafes and do it. Anyway, lots of interesting shots from Albuquerque in this last batch, so check them out...

    Posted by steev at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 16, 2006

    More Subtitling

    Sometimes I'm pretty thankful I'm so geeky.

    Today I was helping someone from No More Deaths put subtitles on an interview with an undocumented migrant who was interviewed in the hospital here in Tucson after being picked up by border patrol. She was betrayed by coyotes and left for dead out in the desert, then rescued by suprisingly beneficient deer hunters.

    I'm constanly surprised at how few real versatile, efficient tools for subtitling there are, especially for the Mac. There's just nothing that does everything you want. And so, often I'm stuck, massaging some text file into the right format, but luckily I speak the swiss-army knife of text processing languages, Perl. So when Shanti gave me a text file full of subtitles without time codes this afternoon, I just hacked together something like this:

    #!/usr/bin/perl -n

    $offset = 4; # time code to start.
    $length = 9; # seconds each subtitle will last.

    if(/^(\S.+)$/) {
    $text = $1;
    if($time == 0) { $start = $offset } else {$start = $time};
    $time = $start + $length;
    $start_seconds = $start % 60;
    $start_minutes = int($start/60);
    $end_seconds = $time % 60;
    $end_minutes = int($time/60);
    printf ("00:%02d:%02d:01,\t00:%02d:%02d:00,\t$text", $start_minutes, $start_seconds, $end_minutes, $end_seconds);
    } else { print; }

    Then import into DVD Studio Pro and voila! well, not quite voila, we still had to shift and stretch some things to get the timing a little better. But, y'know, if I didn't know Perl or some other way to roll my own text-munger, what would I do? spend an extra 5 hours on it I guess, getting the timing all figured out by hand. whew!

    yay Perl!

    Posted by steev at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

    Past Predictions

    I've been sick the last couple days, I guess mainly because I haven't been getting enough sleep. As I lay around trying to nap I've been reading my old journals a lot. There's this new person I'm getting involved with who I'm still not at liberty to say much about but she's really great, and she keeps a journal, and that has been making me think a lot more about my journals.

    Anyway I've been scanning through these old journals looking for some sort of wisdom about life. I just found this entry about a certain neighborhood in Portland that some friends there will I'm sure find interesting:

    There's a street fair over on Mississippi Street this weekend. Last night as part of it, Ed and I showed some videos outside in an empy lot next to a building. It was pretty cool. It's always good to see yr. work in different contexts.

    It was strange because a lot of people in the neighborhood are just normal people, poor black families and some lower-income whites - basically what i'm saying is these are normal americans, they sing off key, they love america and macarme and apple pie and baseball. This guy put on a talent show that was mostly kids, which you can forgive, but the adults reminded me of what my old English professor called "The Art of the Feeble."

    But that's okay, I think I was just in a bad mood or something. Maybe I'm bitter or something because the neighborhood is in the early stages of being gentrified. you can see it just getting ready to spring into action. There's a new, hip cafe that just went in, there's some hip little shops about to open, but it's still really formative. There's still lots of empty store fronts and shuttered windows and wierd, industrial/workingclass kinds of businesses.

    In a few years I can see that all changing and there will be a a street lined with gift shops, bistros, and galleries.

    It's so interesting. So what does that have to do with the lame talent show? Maybe because I thought "normal" people had more talent. Maybe I thought communities could live without professional artists and freaky hipsters-for-life, and still have an interesting culture. Maybe I'm just spoiled? Disillusioned, at least. Maybe it's that I wish I wasn't so spoiled. So jaded and ruined.

    Sure enough, it turned out that 2 years later, last summer, all that had come true. that street in Portland is now completely gentrified. My comments from back then seem somewhat snobby and priveleged, but one has to understand how it comes basically all from the frustration of seeing that steamroller of change coming. And perhaps knowing that I was part of it, showing my arty little video collages on the side of a building where before there was mostly stuff like blues music and barbecue contests.


    Posted by steev at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 14, 2006

    Minutemen Confronted By Landowner

    The border vigilantes known as The Minutemen got into trouble trespassing on private property during their operations looking for undocumented border crossers near Three Points, Arizona. ACLU observers shot this video of the property owner getting angry at them.

    Posted by steev at 04:33 PM | Comments (3)

    Where The Bloody Hell Are You?

    I've been in a bit of a flamewar with some aquaintances in Portland because I dared to tell them that I might have a different, less naive notion of what's going on with the border and immigration after living in the borderlands for awhile and spending 18 months making a film about what is at least partially a border issue (the femicide in Juárez). In a place like southern Arizona one is just surrounded, soaking, in "the border" and all its cultural and political ramifications. But people a thousand+ miles from Mexico desparately want to believe that if they just read enough liberal articles on the web while they sit in their cubicle at work that they have a firm grasp on reality and a good idea of what's going on and then have a right to spout their half-formed theories.

    Not that I'm an expert or trying to be holier-than-tho. I'm really just starting to work on this stuff; but my point is that just by being here, in the borderlands, you can't help but be exposed to a greater complexity of notions about immigration and the border.

    Another place where immigration is a huge issue is Australia. I remember when I was there in 2001 how ever-present the issue of refugees and detainment camps was in the media and in the discussions of intelligent people.

    Addressing this is a really great video I was just told about that spoofs a recent flashy tourism ad for Australia called "Where the Bloody Hell Are You?"

    One thing I think they should have done something with in the spoof is taken advantage of the incredibly ripe-for-detourning part of the original where they say "and Bill's on his way down to open the front gate." Open the front gate for who? Sometimes just letting portions of a text simply hang itself is the best satire of all.

    Posted by steev at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 12, 2006

    Video from April 10 Immigrant Rights day in Tucson

    I threw together, literally in about 6 hours of editing, a short 11-minute video (47 meg download) about what happened here in Tucson on Monday with the immigrant rights marches and rally. It's a bit sloppy but still something I'm proud of, and it was a nice example of a collaborative effort with Pan Left Productions, the video collective I'm a member of. Four of us shot footage, then everyone got their tapes to the studio right after and I started capturing. Finished up cutting yesterday afternoon and then encoded it this morning and uploaded it. Hopefully I will soon have it encoded into some other formats too for maximum compatibility.

    It covers a lot of ground - the student marches, the main march, the rally, some debate with some counterprotesters, some tension in the park over the counterprotesters, and the sad ending to the day.

    I hope you like it.

    Posted by steev at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)

    Two Hollywood Juarez Movies Battle It Out, J-Lo Wins

    Interesting article about how the 2 hollywood cheesefest films about the Juarez situation have been competing, and the one starring Minnie Driver has apparently been forced to go straight to DVD because everyone is choosing the one starring Jennifer Lopez instead. J-Lo is a bigger draw to theaters, of course. Her film is more realistic, but I think it's extremely bad that there won't be 2 films out there in the wide public eye. Having only one will make it more likely that audiences will not realize that there's a true situation behind the film.

    Apparently even the J-lo film is having trouble finding a distributor. We'll see how long it takes for it to finally come up. One person I talked to said it would be late summer or fall, after the summer blockbuster season.

    Posted by steev at 07:03 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 11, 2006

    Early Morning Activism at Epic

    I'm sitting in on a No More Deaths meeting at Epic cafe at 7:30 am. The core organizers meet every single weekday morning here!

    I'm here because I couldn't sleep, and the internet was down at my house, and I wanted to work on my indymedia story about yesterday. I'm not getting a lot done because I'm in the meeting, half-listening.

    Anyway, these people do so much. It's incredible.

    Posted by steev at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 10, 2006

    National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights

    This has been a crazy day. Huge marches and rallies here in Tucson that I was at from 8:30 am to now. I'm too fried to write an indymedia article with any pretension of journalistic rigor so i'm blogging about it first.

    I started with 200 students who'd walked out of Tucson High School. Marched with them downtown to the federal building. Met other students from other schools. about 600 in total, we then marched to Armory Park to meet the main march coming from South Tucson. The rally started before the main march had reached the park and there were about 2000 already there by the time the main march arrived, and it was HUGE. it's hard to estimate, some were saying 5,000, some 10, some 20,000. it went on for blocks and blocks and blocks, taking up all lanes of 6th ave.

    People packed into the little park and the whole time while the rally went on, off to one side was a little knot of about 6-8 anti-immigrant protesters and vigilanted types, holding offensive signs and just standing there trying to provoke a reaction and ruin things. And it ended up that they did.

    For 3 hours, peacekeepers ringed these assholes with arms locked, making sure no one fucked with them and started a full-fledged riot. The cops SHOULD have done something, should have removed them, because the park had actually been RENTED by the Immigrant Rights groups. But the cops just stood there and let whatever happen.

    At the end of the rally, a teenage girl finally had had enough and she tried to splash some water on the anti-immigrants. She didn't even succeed, she ended up splashing the peacekeepers. but the cops swooped in and arrested her, things went crazy, pepperspray started flying. it sucked, and i'm sure the mainstream media will latch onto that as the one thing to report about the day.


    Posted by steev at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

    Abril 09, 2006

    Here Comes Summer

    It's only early April and it's already super hot. Must be like 85-90 today. Wow. Really an omen for this summer. Everybody's been warning me, every time I say how I like Tucson, about the summer. Hmm.

    In other news, last night was a super awesome art auction at the Dry River space, to benefit a political prisoner, Harold Thompson, an anarchist organizer who was jailed 26 ago for life+, for killing a guy who was going to kill his son. We had Patrick do the auctioneering and he was great. I guess he learned it from his Aunt who worked in a carnival in Texas or something. He was really entertaining.

    My friend Lenara who was visiting from Brazil then took me over to this party, the closing night party for the Towards a Science of Conciousness Conference. That's why she was in town. It was a nice little party and I got a taste of the diversity of people in the field. Everyone from really starched neurobiologists to wacky extropians and new age freakazoids. Today Lenara headed off to the airport to catch her flight back to Sao Paulo and then Porto Alegre, and now I have another guest rolling in from San Diego, a member of the Organic Collective who is on a little Southwest roadtrip.

    Tommorrow is what looks to be a massive student walkout and march here in Tucson, part of a national day of action against the anti-immigration legislation in congress. I'll be there shooting video, I think.

    Posted by steev at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

    Abril 08, 2006

    Anarcho-Love Dance Party

    Last night at the Dry River space we had a dance party and I DJed. It was pretty fun. I've never really actually DJed at a party before - I've been a radio DJ, and obviously I've manned the stereo at parties, but its never been DJing in the sense of like mixing and beat-matching and stuff. I used a cool piece of software called Traktor, by Native Instruments, which auto-calculates BPMs and lets you sync 2 tracks by adjusting BPM of one or both, and you can loop, skip around, scratch, filter. I didn't do too much fancy stuff, just tried to keep the beat going and stick to a few conceptual themes, not paying much attention to genre. The latter made for a pretty weird set, lots of stylistic variety. It was fun. So below is the playlist, roughly, but at some point during the set I hit the button that sorts the list by beats per minute, so this isn't chronological, its roughly in order of fastest to slowest.

    Awe by League of Infinite Justice
    Vamos Con San Pedro (Son Times) by Los Sampler's
    Rockstar by Z-Trip
    Virus by Deltron
    Life In The Greenhouse Effect by Steroid Maximus
    Skelechairs (Venetian Snares Remix) by Doormouse
    Evil by Paris
    DJ Peron by Tango Crash
    Give The Anarchist A Cigarette by Chumbawamba
    Electrolatino by Seņor Coconut
    Mambo Brillante (HD Mambo) by Los Sampler's
    Reanimator by Amon Tobin
    AA XXX by Peaches
    Rat Race by The Specials
    Bullet by Wig
    You and Me and the Moon by The Magnetic Fields
    Mi Corazon by Campo (from Bajo Fundo Tango Club)
    Nothing Better by The Postal Service
    Love Me by Chumbawamba
    push it by soulwax (Iggy vs Salt n Peppa)
    Can't Get Blue Monday Outta My Head (DJ Krys X Extended Club M by Kylie Minogue Vs New Order
    The ABCs Of Anarchism by Negativland-Chumbawamba
    a16 by Ultra-red
    my best friends girlfriend by the cars
    Opportunities (Let's make lots of money) by Pet Shop Boys
    Dont You Want Me Baby by Human League
    New Order - The Day Would Never Come by New Order
    New Kicks by Le Tigre
    Sordid by Amon Tobin
    Darn (Dawn of Lidell Mix) by Super_Collider
    Long-Forgotten Fairytale by The Magnetic Fields
    I Got A New Girl Now by Honeymoon Suite
    You Sexy Thing (I Believe in Miracles) by Hot Chocolate
    Special Delivery by MC Frontalot
    Tainted Love by Soft Cell
    This Is A Collective by consolidated

    The only thing I really feel was bad about was playing "Evil" by Paris. Paris really rocks, he's such an amazing political MC. With that track, from his Sonic Jihad album, if you listen carefully to the lyrics it's easy to tell that it's ironic, that he's rapping about all the things he would do IF he were evil. Basically a critique of the power system and ruling classes. But the problem is that if you're not paying attention to that context and you just hear the verse where he's talking about the mistreatment of women and he says the words "bitches and hoes", it's easy to misunderstand. So people objected to that and for good reason and I felt bad about playing it, and segued out of it ASAP. Stupid. Sorry, Dry River dancers! I learned a lesson.

    Anyway, other than that it was a good time and I'd like to do more "spinning" sometime.

    Posted by steev at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)

    Abril 06, 2006

    ...And Will We Still Remember Them In 10 More....

    Believe it or not I woke up basically at sunrise again. Not because anyone txted me, unfortunately. Just because I did. Taoists say one should rise with the sun. I've always kind of liked that idea. Though they say one should retire with the sun too and that seems pretty unrealistic.

    Anyway, I laid there thinking for a while, then wrote in my journal. made tea. Then I checked my email, checked some blogs i read, checked Flickr - I'm sort of a Flickr addict - and decided to take someone off my contacts list there. He's someone I know from a long time ago, from an old circle of friends and aquaintances that I no longer keep in touch with, and he posts photos constantly but they're never interesting to me. They're just in a completely different plane of existence than where I'm at now, dabbling with video games, technology for its own sake, and disposable income lifestyle porn, what I just called in my journal the "digital dilletante" world.

    But then, clicking onward from his contact list, I started trying to find other people from that social circle, way back when. It's now been 9 and a half years since I first started getting to know them. All caught up in the internet boom in San Francisco, a clique of cyber-hipsters bent on changing the world with HTML and chemicals. As one old friend from that time said "They watched way too many movies, took way too many drugs, and they made way too much money."

    I dipped into that scene for a few years, really only because of work, when you get down to it. (I fell out with that wise friend who said the above quote - ironically because of a copyright/cash dispute - and never saw him again. I wish we were still friends.)

    After a few years I climbed back out of that pool, shedding bad vibes and bad karma but also with some really valuable wisdom gained, lessons learned, and a few really great, wise people known. Perhaps it should be no surprise that some of the neatest and wisest of those people are the hardest to locate and learn about using the new digital socialising tools like Flickr, and blogs and stuff.

    One of the top 5 songs to be stuck in my head for the last 5 or so years is a song by Death Cab For Cutie. Literally at least once a week since I heard it first, I find myself singing it to myself. Jay still never lets me sing it when I'm around her. It's a really sad song. The core of this sadness comes in the second stanza:

    And this is the chance I never got
    To make a move
    But we just talk about
    The people we've met in the last 5 years
    And will we still remember them in 10 more?

    For some reason some people like sad songs. I like sad songs. Someone newly very special to me likes sad songs. But others don't. Jay doesn't. She always said it was because some people have had sad, troubled, hard lives, and so don't need or want sad songs, and others have happy, priveleged lives and so sad songs are just sort of like slumming, dipping into an exotic world you never had to live yourself. I'm actually putting words into her mouth, but the concept is hers. I don't know if I totally agree. But I have had a pretty easy life, so I'm not one who should say.

    Pues si, I'm meandering. But that song popped into my head when I was looking at all those bland photos by all those old digerati from a past time. A swirl of brief and mostly superficial friendships fluttering around a bright light of hope and money, like moths.

    I'm getting so personal. I guess because there's been important personal stuff happening lately for me. Nothing bad. really good, actually. I better stop now.

    I let you bum a smoke,
    you quit, this winter past.
    I tried twice before
    But like this, it just would not last.

    Posted by steev at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 05, 2006

    Colliding With The Sunrise

    I just woke up to sound of my cellphone vibrating in silent mode. I reached over and there was a new text message from a friend. It said

    Good Morning! a thunderstorm is colliding with the sunrise! You should go look from your deck! the storm is coming in from the north!

    And in indeed it was a pretty spectacular sight. It was worth being woken up for, por cierto.

    Posted by steev at 06:26 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 04, 2006

    Amazing Screening

    Well, the screening of my film in Albuquerque went incredibly well. The owners of the theater, the Guild Cinema, were very impressed with the turnout: 102. Apparently this is highly unusual, especially for a monday night and for an activist documentary. They want to show it again in a few months. The Peace and Justice Center here in town wants to show it, too.

    I sold all the copies of the DVD as well.

    Afterward a bunch of us went out for drinks and I received some very good comments, including some really helpful, filmschool-style critique from another filmmaker, who in fact is in grad school for film in Ohio and was back here in abq to shoot some final pickup scenes for a student piece he's finishing up. He was especially interested because for his next project he wants to make a narrative feature film about the border that touches on the Juarez situation, the Minutemen, drug and human trafficking, etc. He said my film has made him realize he has to totally rewrite the script.

    Anyway. I head back to Tucson this morning in a few hours.

    Posted by steev at 06:31 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 03, 2006

    Voter Reward

    Wow. there's actually someone trying to get this initiative on the ballot in Arizona for this fall:

    This law will establish a voter reward random drawing every two years with a first prize of one million dollars or more. The purpose is to increase voter participation. Voters who cast ballots in primary or general elections will be eligible to win. The money will come from the Arizona Lottery and private donations.
    What a good idea. Maybe it would even get some of my misguided anarchistoid friends to vote.

    (thanx José)

    Posted by steev at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

    New Juárez Flickr Group

    Last night I set up a new Flickr group for photos relating to the murdered women in Juárez and Chihuahua. It's located at http://flickr.com/groups/femicide/.

    If you have photos that are relevant and you use or want to use Flickr, I invite you to join.

    Posted by steev at 06:36 AM | Comments (0)

    Abril 02, 2006

    Into CJ Again

    Hello from Albuquerque. I arrived here last night after a day spent with my Tucson homies over in Ciudad Juárez. We lucked out and had a really productive day. We'd been wanting to meet with some community activists in Rancho Anapra called Las Hormigas. But it was proving difficult to arrange something for Saturday and we had sort of resigned ourselves to not being able to see them. las hormigas
    However, as we wandered around Anapra we just stumbled onto their community center. Although it was closed, we had even more good luck. As we stood there reading their posters on the outside of the building, a volunteer drove up after finishing their daily cheap lunch program for the day. She gave us a bunch of literature and we talked a bit about what they were doing, including the resistance to a new highway that is slated to be built through the community and displace thousands of already poor residents of this neighborhood of shacks.

    We said we'd follow up with the organizers later, and then drove into el centro. I showed my friends just a taste of what downtown Juarez is like and then we headed for the border bridge. We felt pretty happy with our visit. At the border, the guard gave me, the driver, the full round of questions about where i was from, why we were there, ran my license, etc. I explained we had been in Juarez for the day after being at a conference in Las Cruces for 3 days. He asked what hotel we stayed at and then what was the conference about. I told him the truth, it was about the murdered women of Juarez. I consider it a subtle form of activist information-spreading. It's not illegal to be interested in the femicide, so why not bring it up, keep it on people's minds as much as possible? I'm sure everyone in El Paso knows about it, but many choose to keep it tucked under the rug of their brains.
    who's next?
    The conference, for me, was really about people coming together to help each other and help each other work on this cause. Almost everyone who was there already knew most of the facts about the situation, other than a few updates and perhaps some obscure numbers. It was in the form of an academic conference, but it was important not for imparting facts and figures, theories or findings, but for updating our emotional batteries. It gets so easy to work on these kinds of things and become almost desensitized, to work on it and know what it's about but disconnect from the real emotional reality. But by seeing and hearing the mothers one gets an inspirational recharge. One gets sad but then filled with renewed determination to try to make a difference and help. The mothers are the constant reminder, the reality check, the coming-down-to-earth connection.

    This is not another academic topic to just write papers on and then go home. This is a real, constant, continuing, horrific situation that needs real action in response to it. Seeing the mothers speak, returning to the city and seeing the pink and black crosses still painted on poles, you know it's still there, that these women are still waiting. In fact, it was announced during one panel that a new body had been found just this week, the first day of the conference, right near the International Bridge. Was this a message, one of the many apparent messages sent using mutilated bodies in Juarez? Was someone trying to say, using "un lenguaje que no entendemos todavía" (as Marisela Ortiz said in my film), that you can have your little conference and give your little speeches and show your little films but the killings will continue? Was someone taunting us from the border while we sat in Las Cruces watching powerpoint presentations?

    It's chilling to think like that but it may be true. I hope not, but it may be so, and it may also be so that there's no force on earth that can stop this. But judging by the growing tide of people working to fight it, I'm actually optimistic. It will be stopped. The final measure of the horror will only be determined by the time it will take to finish it, but it is a matter of time now. Eventually enough people will know, about this injustice as with many others, and it will not be able to stand.

    lomas de poleo

    Posted by steev at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)