The reviewer obviously was very effected by watching it, which is really gratifying to see.
In addition to putting together a presentation about an important problem that simply isn’t getting enough attention, Hise has produced a moving body of work. His camera becomes our eyes, and he triggers the questions we have as we learn more about the murders and the conditions that exist in Ciudad Juarez.
I certainly got more than I’d intended when I asked to review this DVD. It’s something that’s going to stay with me for a long time, and probably something I’m going to write about again.
I keep stumbling on these songs i've been listening to for months but suddenly their lyrics just are clear and almost perfectly apropro for me right now, like this one by Cake:
To me, coming from you,
Friend is a four letter word.
End is the only part of the word
That I heard.
Call me morbid or absurd.
But to me, coming from you,
Friend is a four letter word.
When I go fishing for the words
I am wishing you would say to me,
I'm really only praying
That the words you'll soon be saying
Might betray the way you feel about me.
But to me, coming from you,
Friend is a four letter word.
Well, damn. I never really read Clamor Magazine until the latest issue, which has multiple muckraking articles about American Apparel and how the feel-good t-shirt company of choice for so many socially concious t-shirt wearers is actually not that great at all.
I've been meaning to blog about that every since I read that issue a month ago. Now I see that Clamor actually is folding due to financial problems. Sad. It seems like a really great publication.
(via Josh Breitbart's blog)
Director of the national Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund died a couple weeks ago.
In 1982, Franz became the first full-time director of the National
Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund.
Franz believed that war taxes have enormous consequences.
"They kill twice," Franz said. "First, they directly enable war . . .
particularly paying for weapons. Second, taxes allocated for war
represent a distortion of priorities. Money is taken away from the
important work of healing and spent to destroy and kill."
I printed it out and am now in the process of actually reading it for the first time. it's 177 pages, at least as it is currently formatted. 53,900 words. Obviously it's very rough and I will now be revising it fixing stuff that i find wrong with it, and responding to comments on it.
I just hope that the person that a lot of it is based on will read it soon so that i can let the rest of the world read it soon after.
Wow, I had such a great 4-day Thanxgiving weekend! It was so much fun. I went with friends to San Carlos, which is a little town on the coast of Sonora, Mexico, on the Sea of Cortez. It's about 20 km, I think, from Guaymas, if you're trying to find it on a map. It's only about 5 hours drive pretty much straight south of Tucson. San Carlos is a little bit resort-like, mainly geared toward retired gringo condo owners. However, it's not terribly built up and cheesy, like Rocky Point, and there's not a lot of development for tourists. It's just a little get away spot for rich elderly, although the beaches there are public and easily accessible, so anyone can be there. There ended up being about 12 of us, who mostly camped on the beach but we had access to a condo owned by the lawyer of one of the friends that went.
It was so beautiful, and warm, and just really fun hanging out with cool people and getting away from Tucson. Swimming, boating (one friend brought his small catamaran sailboat!), hiking down the beach, drinking a lot, eating a lot, singing songs around the campfire, and just being with cool friends. I haven't had a weekend or a thanxgiving (for sure) this good in a long long time. I took a lot of good photos.
Not only that, but I actually "finished" my novel while I was there! 4 days early! I somehow managed to write over 10,000 words while in San Carlos, while also drinking a lot, relaxing a lot, swimming and lying on the beach and also reading a lot of a great book about screenwriting and Hollywood that I've been reading.
I put finished in quotes because although I've passed the 50,000 word goal, The story isn't quite done. I have the climactic final chapter to write. Which I still plan to do in the next 3 days. Then it will really be done. In fact, I'm going to sit here and write that last chapter right now as I sit in Shot in the Dark Cafe, having just finished an energizing breakfast burrito.
Yesterday morning when I finished it I broke out 2 bottles of champagne (well, Chilean sparkling wine) that I bought in Guaymas on Friday, and we all celebrated. It was really fun working on the book while I was at this outing with friends, because they all supported me, asking me every day, or even more often, how I was doing, what my word count was, and being really interested and encouraging. While drinking the champagne they even patiently listened to me reading an excerpt, and many said they liked it and looked forward to reading the whole thing.
Friends are so important.
As the dawn began to break - I had to surrender
The universe will have its way - too powerful to master
Oh-oh-oh-what is love and what is hate?
And why does it matter? - is to love just a waste??
And how can it matter?
--The Flaming Lips, In The Morning Of The Magicians
It was time for a change. I shaved off most of my beard yesterday. This has been 7 months or so of experimenting with facial hair. Mostly because of a woman.
So, ladies, what do you think?
I don't know who did this (and if i did I wouldnt say here), but it's pretty freaking great.
In the early hours of Monday, 11/20, in response to the Zapatista's call for solidarity actions for the struggle in Oaxaca, direct action was taken against the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade in Tucson, AZ. Windows were smashed, locks were glued, and messages were painted on the building reading "Viva Oaxaca" and "Free Trade = Death".
Someone told me Mercury has been in retrograde for a long time. someone else 2 weeks ago said Scorpio was in retrograde, and that was even worse than Mercury. I don't usually believe in astrology but the Merucry in Retrograde thing always seems to be be pretty right on. everything has been going wrong. people, friends of friends, dying, getting really sick, and other personal stuff, communication stuff, just getting completely fucked up. i wish it would stop. of course there's pain and suffering everywhere all the time, maybe the curse of our information overloaded age is that we now can know really soon when something bad happens, anywhere to anyone.
The good news is I had a really nice afternoon yesterday having a long bike ride with a new friend and then getting ice cream. We rode along the Rio Rillito bike trail, which i haven't done in awhile, and we we had some really great conversations, talking the entire time about really interesting stuff. life stuff, relationship stuff. it was really good, just what i needed.
Then I went to an early party and that was fun but by 830 i was falling asleep, because i've been only getting 2 to 4 hours of sleep for the last few nights. I was literally nodding off in a chair while people were trying to talk to me about Joe Strummer and reggae. So I went home and went to bed at about 10. ended up getting about 4 1/2 hours last night. I just can't stop thinking about... about this bullshit i'm going through that I can't write about here. I need some sedatives. I need a therapist. Argh...
Mercury, please start going forward again. please.
I went to see Jello Biafra live last night. I've been wanting to see him for like 15 years, and it ended up being an almost total disappointment.
He was so boring! I couldn't believe it. And he just sounded like any other activist wingnut ranter. If it wasn't for his history as god of punk rawk, he'd be a homeless guy in Oakland yelling at pigeons at the BART station. There was just nothing unique or compelling, much less remotely entertaining. I was falling asleep after about 30 minutes, left after another 10. oh man.
Why is it that when someone causes you emotional suffering, even if unintentional, the reflex is to respond, perhaps after initial grief, with anger?
Well, it's actually pretty easy to answer that, I think. It's just a simple defense mechanism, like with physical pain. You look around to see what caused it, like for instance, a car running over your foot, and your adrenalin rushes, fight or flight, and you respond, with rage. whether it's accidental or not, it's a matter of survival.
And anger turns to hate and hate turns to rash actions, evil things that people shouldn't do to each other.
I have been fighting that. The urge to respond, to intense feelings of sadness and loss and loneliness, with spite and vindictiveness and vengance is so strong in me this past 3 days. I have never ever felt so.... like on the verge of becoming an evil man. Like I am on a knife edge of ethical judgement, and I could fall that way and become a bad person, or the other way and remain good, like I have always considered myself to be. The past faith in goodness and compassion and giving people the benefit of the doubt is the only thing that pulls me back from the abyss.
But I realized today that it feels better to be nice to someone, to care for someone, to do them a favor, than to be vindicative and hateful and damaging.
I'm trying to use my novel for catharsis, having the characters act out the alternate worlds where I go out and do the wrong thing. It seems to be helping.
Sigh. Wish me luck.
Warning, Personal stuff alert!
Something bad and sad has happened in my life. Again. No more detail than that. Sorry.
But, I refuse to let it get to me as it has before. Because it's now just going to become grist for the rest of my novel! I have seen the overall metaplot of my novel now, because of this sad thing i've found out today, I know where the novel is really going now, and it is going to KICK ASS. It's already been going really really well. In fact this new idea just fits perfectly into the novel as it is so far already. As you can see from the meter over at the right side, I'm almost up to 17,000 words! only 33k to go... I just hope the sadness doesn't overwhelm my creative jolt and make me just stop writing the thing. Wish me luck. I'll need it. This novel may be the only thing that keeps me sane now.
FWIW, I really hate it when people call documentaries and other films "videos." It bothers me for some reason.
This review in the LA Weekly mentions a possibly interesting play with the Juarez femicide as a backdrop:
IPHIGENIA CRASH LAND FALLS ON THE NEON SHELL THAT WAS ONCE HER HEART (A RAVE FABLE) Loosely based on Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis, Caridad Svich’s ambitious play with music is set near the killing fields of Ciudad Juarez. Facing a tough election, General Adolfo (Richard Azurdia) plots the murder of his daughter, Iphigenia (Sharyn Gabriel), to secure the sympathy vote. She escapes, soon meeting up with the Fresca Girls (Alexander Wells, Jonathan C.K. Williams and Azurdia), three ghostly maquiladora workers who lead her to a rave where she encounters Achilles (Doug Barry), a drug-addled pop star. (All of this is set against the background of the unsolved murders of young female factory employees in Ciudad Juarez.) Matthew McCray’s stylish direction more than compensates for the occasionally awkward juxtaposition of rave aesthetics, social commentary and Euripides.
sometimes when i'm working on computer stuff i feel like this:
G-Rated (edited by me to protect the wholesome)
(it's gruesome, but if you want, check out the original.)
Josh Breitbart writes eloquently and persuasively in his blog about the divide between activism and journlism that apparently is unique to Gringolandia, and about a previous-to-Brad-Will indymedia participant killed in Ecuador.
Beyond our colleague and fellow gringo, we can do a better job supporting all journalists under attack, including those who are being beaten and jailed right now in Oaxaca, according to Reporters Without Borders:
Mario Mosqueda Hernández of the Centro de Medios Libres de México [who I may have actually met, my memory is hazy, when i was at the CML last year -steev] who “was beaten and dragged along the ground by 10 federal policemen”
Gilardo Mota of the local weekly Opinión who was “held for 48 hours and was roughed [sic] by federal police”
photographer Alberto López Cruz of the local daily Extra, attacked by police who took his camera
and two unidentified Guatemalan journalists who are reportedly missing.
Caught a cold last week but had been successfully fighting it, but it came on in full force while I was in Las Vegas this weekend. Have felt like crap from midday Saturday on.
However, it was a great conference. The national war tax resistance conferences always leave me re-inspired and re-invigorated. There is more and more interest and committment to the idea of using video more, to outreach about the movement. So that's promising. I also did go out and see The Strip, and was predictably repulsed by it, though in a way more just blah about the whole thing. It was almost disappointingly banal and boring despite the surreal excess of it. Vegas is like the USA times 100. It was interesting to hear from residents and others in the know that were at the conference that Vegas has given up on their efforts to make the place more family-friendly. Now the motto is "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," and it's drifting back to being meant for adults - and very high income adults.
Vegas was segregated till 1968, and even star black performers like Lena Horne and Sammy Davis Jr. were required to enter through the back doors of clubs they were performing at, and then go to the west side afterward to sleep. The conference was held in this area, at the Catholic Worker compound, in a neighborhood that was like an urban ghost town. This is because after segregation ended, those that could moved out. Just a 5 minute drive from the glitz of the Strip, this neighborhood was deserted and filled with boarded up storefronts and churches. Amazing.
Despite being sick I have been keeeping on task with the novel, and am up to 10,000 words. We'll see if I can continue the pace and get healthy again this week.
sitting at Tucson airport waiting for my flight. I'm off to Las Vegas for another semi-annual meeting of War Tax Resisters, which rotates around to different cities every time. This one is hosted by the local Catholic Worker chapter - btw i recently found out the Catholic Workers have a sort of anarchist political leaning, which is pretty coo - and I look forward to my first actual stay in Las Vegas being for an activist cause. I hope I also get to witness the Baudrillardian simulacra splendor of Sin City (actually I'm not sure if that's a nickname for Vegas or somewhere else) a little bit, just to say I've been there and seen it.
I'm bringing 2 cameras and a bunch of indymedia literature to distrubute at the conference and do a little video workshop. A significant part of the agenda is going to be about a new WTR documentary that a small committee has been talking about for over a year now. This is an exciting development, because this movement needs some modern, visionary video made about it and spread far and wide to new demographics.
In other news, I'm up to over 7000 words on my novel. It's flowing well, but everyone says the first week is relatively easy... have to keep plugging away and not rest on laurels, because it's supposed to get harder next week. Yesterday I also received the National Novel Writing Month 'handbook' that I ordered from Powell's, "No Plot? No Problem?" - I should have bought it a month ago, but I'm finding that most of the preparations and pre-month advice it gives are things I've already done or known about. A lot of the book is just emphasising that the Month is about giving yourself, 'normal' people, the 'permission' to be creative, to be a 'writer' or an 'artist'... i've been lucky enough to have been giving myself that permission, and getting that permission from family and friends, all my life, so a lot of the advice in the book is sort of unneccesary for me. I think the main danger for me is taking my novel too seriously, forgetting that this is not about writing a GREAT novel, just about writing SOME novel, and a first draft at that.
This little video is a hilarious but inspiring history and civics lesson.
As of today I have lived in Tucson for exactly 1 year.
here is the blog post i wrote when i first arrived, halloween night last year.
I should add that I really like Tucson and lately I've been feeling really happy about living here.
Well, National Novel Writing Month is off and running, 11 hours old, and I've already got over 2000 words done. I had some character sketches and some settings and a sort of general "situation outline" beforehand. I guess it's sort of going to be a weird mix of near-future science fiction, trippy burroughsian stream of conciousness weirdness, gonzo espionage political thriller, activism adventure, parody, romance and autobiography. I registered it under "literary ficition," whatever that means, I guess because I don't want to pigeonhole it under any other more well-defined genre.
I've got an excerpt up on my nanowrimo page. The nanowrimo site seems slow. Makes sense, there's tens of thousands of writers leaving the starting gate and logging in right now... I actually have 4 settings and 2 or 3 major characters introduced. The excerpt is focusing on just one major character and subplot, the one that contributes the espionage thriller part of the genre mix. The character is sort of an evolution of a character from a series of short stories I used to write when I was in high school/college and still did a lot of fiction writing.