Well, the screening tour is over and I am about to head to the airport and catch my plane back "home" to Tucson. In this case "home" just means the place where most of my belongings are stored - I don't know what the future holds. I need to couch surf a little and find a new place. Annoying, but, oh well. And I need to figure out so many other things, too. sigh.
Anyway, the last 2 screenings, on Friday and Saturday, were both interesting in their own way. One was in Tijuana for a group of sex workers who organized to resist police abuse, called the Mary Magdalenes. Most of these women are peasants from the south of Mexico who were recruited by pimps and brought up to TJ. They weren't mislead or told they were getting maquila jobs, they new they were coming to El Norte to be prostitutes. Wow. Anyway they seemed sort of shy and still processing the film afterward so there weren't a lot of questions, but the leaders were appreciative. I also got to meet Victor Clark, from the Comite Binacional Derechos Humanos. He's a major major figure in human rights work in Tijuana and he is who set up the show for the Mary Magdalenes. He has a bodyguard, who went to the screening with us, gun tucked under his shirt at his waist, scanning the surroundings constantly as we walked down the street.
Saturday evening was a pretty different event. I rented a car and drove 2 hours to El Centro, a small town about 10 miles from the border, north of Calexico/Mexicali. A group called MANA arranged the screening. They are a local chapter of a national organization that is sort of professional/career group for white-collar latina women. Or that's what I understand it to be. Anyway, they were really good people and judging by the record number of signatures on the mailing list signup sheet that I always have out, people were really enthused. I also signed my autograph on like 4 copies of the DVD, and sold about 8 copies, all the rest that I had on me. Interestingly, all these purchases were made with checks except for one in cash from a high-school girl. At all other screenings combined only 1 other purchase was by check.
Anyway. Just got back from the beach, my first San Diego beach experience. was fun. now off to airport. back to tucson. I hear it's been raining A LOT there. 7 inches in the last 7 days. crazy. wetter than Portland lately! Hello global warming! Hello chaos!
I just want to travel all the time and life to be one constant adventure. But I also want to just sit still and lie in someone's arms for a long long time. suspira.
Things have been going really well here in San Diego. I've had 2 screenings, one here on Wednesday and one last night in Tijuana. Both were great, both attended by about 80 people, which is the record for this tour (interestingly, the only screening I've done so far with bigger attendance is the one in Albuquerque at The Guild. 105 people. My theory is that this is because that's the one screening I've had in a "real" theater, in other words, a place where the general public is conditioned to expect to go to watch movies. A church, an infoshop, a dance theater, lots of people just don't go to those places to see a film, or to those places at all).
Not only that but both these screenings included the involvement of local groups. The San Diego one even had donated food and beverages for the audience. The Tijuana screening had 2 mothers of girls who'd been killed or almost killed in Tijuana and had been experiencing similar problems that the mothers of victims in Juarez have been facing.
So this is a shout-out to San Diego Indymedia Center. Especially to Yolanda, Miguel, Jonathan, Jenny, and Mark. They have all really been super enthusiastic and dedicated to making these events happen and they did such a great job, promoting and organizing. It's just incredible and touching to me, to see that something I've made inspires people enough to put real work into getting other people to see it. So, thank you, everyone. And thanx too to Lotus and Kat and Matthew and everyone else at the 2-house compound where I've been staying. Your hospitality is much appreciated.
By the way, last night's screening was the Mexican premiere. It was really nice to see that a Mexican audience really got something out of the film, and it was fascinating during the question and answer period to hear pretty much a completely different set of questions and comments than what I get from gringo audiences. There was much more of a sense of personal responsibility for the cultural and social factors. There were people who talked about how important it was for parents to protect their daughters and educate them about dangers, and a few men that mentioned gender roles and family and how men needed to work on improving how they treat their wives, their daughters, other women. It was amazing.
One young hombre who looked like an art student or something asked how I felt about art and media being able to change things. I replied that of course since I was doing it I believed there was some possiblitiy for a positive effect from it, but the important thing to remember is not to make art in a vacuum but to communicate and collaborate with grassroots people who work on and are effected by the issues that you're addressing, and make sure you're actually serving their interests and telling their stories accurately and compassionately.
Toward the end someone said, I wish there was a film by a mexican about this. I told them there are at least 2, "Batalla de Las Cruces" and "Preguntas Sin Respuestas," both done in the last year by Mexican directors. I think for Mexican audiences either of those films would be better than mine, but both of them appear to be in pretty limited availability.
The evening really re-energized me, I think. It was great to show it. I want to show it in Juarez soon, though I'm a little nervous about safety concerns. I wonder how scared I should be.
Tonite, I screen the film again in Tijuana, in a private event for a sort of union of prostitutes; a bunch of sex workers who got together to organize. they're called the Mary Magdalenes, because there are theories that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. That's pretty cool, and it should be very interesting.
Then tommorrow I go to El Centro, a little town about 90 minutes from San Diego, to show the film there to a Latina women's group called MANA.
I still need to get to the beach one of these days.
I've been in the thrall of another Magnetic Fields song for the last few days. When I originally ripped a bunch of their stuff from a friend last fall, I only grabbed some of the "69 Love Songs" album, thinking that I didn't like them enough to warrant taking up that much diskspace. Since I'm obsessed with them now, when I was back at that friend's house in Portland I ripped the rest. I totally love, earnestly and ironically, the song called "World Love." It's got this hilariously cliched "world music style" guitar riff going on underneath the whole time, I can't remember the name of that style but it's that African really bright bouncing guitar style. And then there's lyrics that are sort of snidely about overthrowing governments and also being happy at the same time. It's a biting critique but somehow i find it really sweet and profound too.
All things must pass
So raise a glass
To change and chance.
And freedom is the only law,
Shall we dance?
So if you're feeling low,
Stuck in some bardo,
I, even I, know the solution:
Love, music, wine, and revolution.
I love the unlikely use of the word "bardo." I had no idea what that meant till I looked it up: in Tibetan Buddhism a bardo is a waiting period between death and rebirth into your next incarnation. I kind of feel like I'm in a sort of bardo right now, so that's another reason that I like this song so much. But anyway, who the hell would ever think of using that word in a pop song? Stefin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, that's who.
1) I seem to sleep less and less, wake up earlier and earlier, the further south I go. In Portland I was sleeping in till 7:30 or 8. 6:30 or so In SF. And now I'm back to my usual 5 or 5:30 here in LA. Is it really the sun or the heat? There are holes in that theory. For instance, it's still fully dark out right now. There are surely other factors
2) I'm geeky enough that I can use my computer to tell how late I stayed up. When I wake up I often don't remember when I went to bed. But if I open my Powerbook, it takes a second for the clock to update, and I can see what time it was when I closed it right before turning in. Hence I know I was up till about 1230. And here I am up at 5. What's wrong with me?
3) With the help of a conversation with a friend just before calling it a night last night I realized I need a vacation. It might seem weird coming from someone who's just been travelling the west coast for a month. In a way I'm so ready for this to be over but I'm also so ready to just keep travelling. But I'm pretty sure that I need to travel with no justifying reason to it. Every time I go anywhere it's always, technically, a working holiday - going because it's related to some activist project or work-work. I should go on a trip that's totally just for me. Otherwise I'm just going to totally burn out some day, I fear. It has come to the point, I believe, that my own happiness and sanity is now a justifying rationale, and that's okay.
After 5 days in San Francisco I have now zipped down to the City of Angels on a plane and am ensconced in the Los Feliz home of friends José and Ana. It was an extremely short flight without incident. The Burbank airport is extremely small and convenient to here.
San Francisco was great, for the most part. The two screenings went really well. One was attended by less than I expected, and one by more, so things evened out, I guess. The first one had some music beforehand by 2 of the musicians who did the soundtrack. So it was interesting because some fans of theirs came, and then there were people who came just to see the film, and I'm happy to kind of mix up those 2 demographics and jostle some expectations. Sadly most progressive activist types are culturally regressive, in my experience, so the music was a little "challenging" to some people. oh well.
It was really nice being back in SF. I got to spend one great afternoon at the beach with a friend. Put my DVD on consignment at 3 different places. Saw several people again that I like to spend time with. Sadly one person that I most wanted to see refused to see me, and that made me sad. She's my ex who has continued being my good friend for 4 years since we broke up, but now it looks like we won't be friends anymore and that sucks. I only got a couple hours of sleep last night because I was upset about that and talking to other friends about it all night. Tough times.
Well, now to explore the neighborhood. I want to see if I can impress myself with L.A. this time. I lived here for a year, 10 years ago, and didn't like it, but I think I just didnt go to the right parts, maybe.
A Tucson friend, Lila, writes from Oaxaca City:
Writing here from Oaxaca because the situation here has gotten more extreme. Varo and I were in San Juan Cotzocom, which is in the Sierra Mixe for about 10 days. We returned to the Zocalo to find it filled again with people. Recently, as the struggle has been renewed and APPO has been focusing on boycotting and disrupting the gelaguetza (a celebration of Indigenous culture which is originally founded on cultural and economic sharing which has been coopted as a money making tourist attraction).
The situation here has become more intense recently as APPO has directly blocked and taken control of the planned location of the Gelaguetza. There are many rumors of impending violence as a plane full of fedral police (the same ones who came to Atenco) landed today in the Oaxaca airport, as well as 5-6 busses of state police. All of the information is in the offical release from CIPO which I sent to most of you.
Things have been stressfull here as four days ago, our first night back in Oaxaca city, we had to quickly clean out the CIPO office at 3:00 am because there was threat of a police raid, and have been rotating on night match ever since. Itīs hard to judge the level of danger, because in these types of situations you never know until something happens.
P.S. if you are interested in finding out more about the desalojo on the 14th of june, activist groups here and other Oaxaca stuff, the Oaxaca indymedia site is awesome. They also put together a great film of the desalojo (the police raid) which I think you can download online...
I don't know where the Oaxaca Indymedia site is, I just put that link there as a starting point for your searches.
So many struggles everywhere. In a way, modern communications technology is a double-edged sword, I think. It enables everyone everywhere with an internet connection to know about what's going on everywhere else immediately. And yet the information overload that results sometimes produces paralysis. I just read a pretty good article, for mainstream press, in the SF Weekly about a related phenomenon: that the huge number of activist protests and demonstrations in San Francisco may do more harm than good.
In fact, some political analysts and longtime activists contend the dizzying number of rallies harms progressive efforts by fracturing public support amid a glut of competing interests. With more groups jostling for media attention, voters can grow weary of the scrum, as evinced by the meager turnout for last month's primary elections, slowing the pace of policy reform.
After a 24-hour train ride that was only supposed to be 18, I finally reached Oakland a couple hours ago and then took the BART into San Francisco. Noticed for the first time that in the tunnels all down Market Street stops, there's perfect cell reception, but as soon as the train heads into the Mission the signal disappears. Talk about digital divide.
Anyway, I'm sitting in a cafe feeling slightly grotty after the trip and waiting for my friend Wobbly to meet me here and bring me to his place where I'm crashing. He's one of the musicians who did the soundtrack for my film about the murdered women of Juarez - the reason I'm in town. At the screening tommorrow night (sunday) at ATA at 8pm, he and Thomas Dimuzio will be playing a live set before we show the film. Then monday night there's another screening at Station 40 ( 3030B 16th Street, (across from Mission bart plaza) )
I'm so very happy to be in San Francisco. It's such a pleasure, in a way, to travel to places you once lived, places that you're very familiar with. There's no stress after getting off the train or bus about how to get somewhere. It's just a great feeling of familiarity and comfort and homecoming. And yet it still has the thrill of travelling, though not quite as intense as some brand new foreign city.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to the 2 screenings here and if you're in the bay area you should definitely come to one or both.
Today I'm catching an Amtrak train down the coast to San Francisco. I've had a really great time here in Portland. Now it's time to go once again.
A brief list of what's been happening in the last 36 hours or so:
A blog called Fishbowl NY mentions the Juarez situation in the process of commenting on the NPR program "On The Media" (which I've listened to before and I always thought they were saying "Omnimedia;" Hah!). The blog and the program's latest episode (July 7, which has 2 segments about the issue) talks about how journalists can actually help make things better in the process of being journalists:
Or how the journalistic objectivity we Americans profess to hold so dear might not always be what best serves humanity. Sometimes, if something's wrong, you can try to fix it, and maybe even still be a good journalist. To wit:
"A border town sustained by multinational factories that draw workers from across the country, Juarez has seen the kidnappings, rapes and murders of some 400 girls and women since 1993. Many locals say if the Juarez mystery is ever solved, it will be because reporters have stretched the boundaries of their jobs. Local coverage has attracted international attention and the murders are slowly becoming a worldwide human rights issue."
This hilarious and really well-done "safety instructions"-style set of cartoons documents an officespace revolution and its feral aftermath. Highly recommended.
Jessica returned from one wilderness the other day and this morning headed back into another one. I was able to have a couple long, great phone conversations with her in the 36-hour or so gap, and now she's out of reach for another 12 days. sigh. i suppose it's for the best. if she was reachable i'd probably be calling her all the time.
Meanwhile in Portland I have another couple days to try to meet up with a few more friends and compañeros before I head to San Francisco. I've been having a great time hanging out with people, catching up, and having lots and lots of great talks about relationships, life, and the world.
Did you know: in the Grand Canyon, the water in the river rises and speeds up in the summer and in a daily and weekly cycle based on the electriciy usage of consumers throughout the southwest? River rafters enjoying the isolation of the canyon depths are actually affected every day by the air conditioners and home theater systems of suburbanites in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Sometimes they even need to stop for a day, ahead of schedule from the river running too fast, because more water has to be let through the dams to generate more power. Is that crazy or what?
Chris from NYC Indymedia writes on his blog about citizen journalism a lot. The other day he wrote about the idea that citizen journalism is really still quite a priveleged activity, and that even a lot of people who can do it just are not going to do it. He quotes lots of bloggers and also Subcommandante Marcos saying in 1997:
The world of contemporary news is a world that exists for the VIP's-- the very important people," Marcos said. "Their everyday lives are what is important: if they get married, if they divorce, if they eat, what clothes they wear, or what if they clothes they take off-- these major movie stars and big politicians. But common people only appear for a moment-- when they kill someone, or when they die." One of the original hopes of Indymedia was that it would empower the very people who were being increasingly ignored by the corporate press to cover themselves, to "be their own media." And while, as Josh Breitbart notes, the citizen's media revolution has succeeded, the poor and marginalized are still being left behind.
Last night was the Portland date on my film tour. I'd say it was a success, for some definition of success. There was a much better turnout than I'd feared, 50-60 people, the donations were generous, and the Q&A was very good, with really intelligent and dedicated comments and questions, some of which were fairly challenging. Most of those were of the type "Why didn't you cover ______ or cover it more?" I think I managed to answer everything without sounding defensive.
On the subject of intelligent questions, this is a sign of people already familiar with and dedicated to the topic. I think I'd prefer, actually, to have audiences full of people who were totally or mostly unaware. Comparing notes with fellow activists is one thing, but activating brand new people is the most important. However, I'm not sure how to get that sort of audience.
Anyway, last night was a good start to the tour. 5 more days in Portland just hanging out and connecting with friends, and then I take the train south to San Francisco...
Tonight is the first screening in my west coast tour of my film about the murdered women of Juarez. I'm a little nervous about what the attendance will be like, because Portland Indymedia folks that set up the show have done next to zero promotion for it. I actually felt the need to staple up a couple hundred posters myself yesterday. Ya know you haven't really hit the big time when you're postering for your own shows the day before an out of town event. (What if all tours were like that, and all bands and artists had to hit town a couple days in advance to flyer their own shows?) Of course this isn't about "hitting the big time," this is about getting as many people as possible to learn about this issue. Never forget that, Steev.
In other news, the opposite effect seems to be happening in San Diego. Colleagues there are promoting the screening there and some have set up all this stuff in Tijuana for me - radio appearance, 2 or maybe even 3 screenings.... it's incredible. That will be the Mexican premiere, and i'm a little nervous about that. I've always been nervous about how a Mexican audience will perceive it, ever since the fateful night I showed the rough cut to some people from Chiapas Indymedia and Chiapas Media Project in San Cristobal. That night changed the course of the film, made me go and make it something I know I won't be embarrassed to show to Mexicans, but I still feel like it might meet with some unique criticism from Mexicans that I'm still ill-equipped to deal with.
Off the topic of the film, last night I sat in for a while on a jam session with some friends. they're in sort of a party band called the Golden Greats, and they were asked to play at a party tonite, but their horn players are out of town. so they decided to do a more "experimental," improvisational incarnation of the group, and they asked me to do some laptop stuff with them.
It didn't work out for me. I keep forgetting that the definition of "experimental" for lots of people is pretty different than the one I'm used to, the one that comes out of the academic and art world tradition. For a lot of people who haven't made a life of making experimental art, experimental just means maybe a little less planned, with maybe a little stranger instrumentation. Let's throw in a circuit bent casio keyboard! yay! let's band on some miced metal! But let's still play standard, 4/4 time in a standard tonal key signature and let's never sway from a groove and for god sakes let's not annoy anyone at the party, keep that beat going.
At least the experience didn't turn me off to the idea that I've been thinking of lately: forming a band. I just want to form a band on my own terms with plenty of communication about what the goal is. It might not even be "experimental," but it will be something very concious and aware. (once again I'm reminded of how much bands are like relationships. )
Anyway I ended up bowing out and going with some other friends to see a band downtown called Gin Gang. They're a sort of gypsy eastern-europe folk-rock-goth band. I couldn't understand most of the words, sadly, cuz of the acoustics, but the guy that leads the band had an awesome alto croon. One of the songs for some reason was partly understandable, the chorus came through loud and clear and I could hear him sing over and over: "I know you're not in love but listen to me...."
Just a brief entry to note that it is SOOOOO beautiful here today. It's one of those absolutely perfect summer Portland mornings. I rode Mykle's bike around town, met Laurel for breakfast, and lazily made my way to the office that I'm using to work from. It's a place rented by the geek friends I used to work with here. Riding around, I felt this repeating surge of emotion; it was so beautiful out, the sun was shining so wonderfully, the city so full of lush greenness, so diffferent than the harsh brown desert. it made me feel like crying. I guess I'm still really emotionally raw. I'm having so much fun here with my old friends and its so beautiful here, I just find myself wishing that somehow I could live here, but I know I can't because the weather is only this beautiful for about 8 weeks out of the year, and the rest of the time i just can't handle the rain and cold. It just makes me so sad because in all other respects Portland is so damn cool. I almost can't stand it.
anyway, i gotta get some work done.
Tuesday night I went to a great July 4 party, a casual fundraiser for Pan Left. It was right at the base of A Mountain, where the firewords get launched from. Great music, lots of cool people, and right after the fireworks ended, another summer monsoon storm kicked up and dumped rain. Luckily there were various tent-thingies set up for the party, so the band played on, kicking out CCR's "Who'll Stop the Rain" while many crazy Tucsonans danced with joy at the rare liquid falling from the sky. I got out there and got wet but eventually felt cold and went under the audience tent which soon got moved to be right next to the band tent. Several songs later the dancing turned into mud wrestling. I abstained from that, but it was hilarious to watch and I got some good photos.
James, whose house it was that was hosting the party, was the leader of the band, Pat Riot and the Flaggots. The rhythm section is also in a local band called Golden Alphabet, if that connects to anybody's personal network out there (only 2 or 3 Tucsonans, none of them particularly into the music scene, read this thing, that I know of, so I don't know why I'm bothering, but oh well). Anyway, they were awesome. They had some very creative country/bluegrass covers, like one of "I Want You To Want Me" by Cheap Trick.
Anyway, it was a great last night in Tucson for me. Yesterday I flew to Portland for the start of my odyssey down the west coast. It is chilly and overcast here, but I welcome that now as a break from the tripledigit swelter of Tucson, for a bit (i'll still be disappointed if its like this every day), and I'm so happy to be here. I'm staying with my friends Mykle and Gesine and I'm excited about hanging out with them and all my other friends. My screening is this Saturday at St. Francis Church.
Still so much drama, over the telephone now, soap opera or an imagined part of it continuing, causing worry and fear, then receding, being recognized as wild conclusions jumped to from ignorance of the full facts. Hopes and fears battling to the death with rationales and justifications.
Thank God, or whatever part of us we feel is Eternal*, that she's going to be somewhere with no phones and no cellphone reception and no internet, out in a forest in Virginia, for the next week so we can both get some kind of clear thinking and reflecting done. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of Feelings is causing major havoc.
I feel like we're both blindfolded in a huge dark room feeling around for something, I don't even know what I'm looking for (for the door or for her?), and I'm yelling to her asking where the door is but she doesn't know either and she also doesn't know where she is and she keeps yelling out reminding me of that, which just makes me even more lost.
And I always complain about drama and everyone pretty much complains about it but how many people really secretly like it? I bet there's a lot, probably the ones who complain the loudest about it. Maybe I'm even one of them. Maybe it's just another thing to consume, something else to use to try desparately to fill the aching empty howling void in our souls gouged out by our sick society.
Meanwhile during all this distraction I still have work to do and various errands to complete before I leave town in 2 days and goddamit I totally forgot to make a call I needed to make before the end of the day. dammit dammit dammit.
Oh and in other news did y'all know that Rod Coronado's 40th birthday is today?
As I mentioned yesterday, Jessica and I camped out in the desert Friday night and then got up at sunrise to gather the fruit of the saguaro cactus. Photos are now on my Flickr page.
It was a really fun and new experience for me. Iconic of Arizona, the saguaro is still a really strange plant to me even after I've lived here for 8 months. In the spring, little green pods start growing on their tops, and then big white waxy flowers bust out, and then the flower dry out and in June the pods turn sort of reddish and they start cracking open. They'll do this until the summer monsoon rains really get going.
So people have been going out and harvesting. I expressed interest in it recently and so Jessica took me to a place she knew. It was really cool and fun, and it was great to be out there first thing in the morning as the sun rose. It's sort of a neat couple thing to do, because it's really a teamwork thing. one person to wield a long pole, usually 2 pieces of cactus rib (the bone-like structures of the saguaro that is left over after it dies and dries up) tied together with twine to form a long enough tool, and one person to hold a bucket. The pole person gently taps and nudges at a ripe fruit pod until it breaks off and then the bucket person catches it. Sometimes the gooey fruit inside comes out as it falls and splatters all over, so in the end we were both spattered with little gobs of dark red goo. It's a pretty sensual fruit - a really juicy pulpy mass about the size of a large strawberry, inside the green-red rind/shell, full of crunchy little seeds, and really sweet, getting sweeter as the season progresses. They also dry out a little and get easier to eat as the summer goes on.
I'm really glad we went, it was a really nice thing to do together on our last morning before we were to part for 30 days. Anyway, check out the cool pics.
Well, it's weird, there's so many people leaving town lately, people I know in the community here. I've never encountered this before, this ridiculous summer exodus. I'm leaving in 4 more days, I timed my departure so I could go to a big anti-July 4 party that should be fun, but I wish I could split now. I just feel deserted and lonely. I have a friend who always tries to hang up the phone first when ending a call, so that she doesn't have to hear that lonely click and then silence when the other person hangs up. I feel like I'm sitting there with the phone in my hand listening to that click and that silence. The subculture, the scene, whatever, just hung up on me.
Reminds me of something Daniela said the other night: "There were times when I thought the Universe broke up with me."
Jessica's gone. She left for Flagstaff this morning. The nice thing is that we spent the night in the desert and then harvested saguaro fruit at sunrise (a really nice and amazing experience which I will blog about later with photos), then went back home and did some more fun stuff quickly and then, she drove off. I won't see her for a month. She's going to a family get-together, then going to the Earth First! Rendezvous in Virginia, and then on a river rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. And after that, when she's back and i'm back, things will be hopefully really really different - at least in my head. If they're not, I fear that I may have to leave Tucson for good. The soap opera is continuing, and at this point I feel like it will be unbearable (There's even a geographic ground zero for the soap opera, it's the hippie-bubble neighborhood of Tucson called Dunbar-Spring - and she just signed the lease on an apartment there! arrrgh!!).
But In a big way, this break is a big blessing. I need to get over her, get over a lot of things that have me in a funk lately, and get on with my life. And this absence and travelling will help with that immensely. Need to get OUT of here and clear my head. and heart.
But for now I have 4 nights to spend alone in her house. Her housemates are out of town too. I moved out of my place yesterday and put all my stuff in storage for my trip. Really needed to get out of that place anyway. That's another whole blog entry. But anyway, it seemed like a convenient thing to do, and in a way it'll be nice, having their place to myself, but it'll be sad, too. In retrospect I should have crashed at someone else's. oh well.
Luckily there's still quite a bit going on around here to keep me occupied. The people left behind are still working away on cool stuff. Dry River has a new space and we have a meeting to talk about the focus of the space and what we've learned from the old location over the past 8 months. There are 2 parties tonite, and then the party on the 4th, another meeting tommorrow night, and of course I have all sorts of paid and unpaid digital chores to do for various people and groups, and some last preparations for my trip. Sigh. If I can just stay busy till I get on the plane wednesday...