Tuesday, September 02, 2008

more from the twin cities


We joined the silent march of Vets for Peace and an anti-torture group, in which we dressed as Guantanamo prisoners, in orange jumpsuits and hoods. Participating in a march with an actual dramatic idea behind it was pretty satisfying (though I still felt grouchy about the left's inadequate ability to perform--we could have been absolutely silent, and maintained militaristically straight rows and columns).

At the end, I saw the back of a t-shirt that gave me yet another reading of the opening sentence of Ron Silliman's Tjanting: "Not THIS!", it read, under a picture of a football player, down on one knee with a ball and one finger pointing triumphantly into the air. The front turned out to be a photo of two collaborating baseball players, with the caption "We need more of this..." and the logo for the Revolutionary Communist Party--all of which, the socialist politics and the privileging of baseball, made the connection with Ron seem even stronger.

(Reiko points out the important mistake in my reading of the shirt's front in the comments box. Check it out.)


The big march on the RNC. Already hotter today than under a hood yesterday. Undocumented immigrant among the first casualties of the Iraq war. Emma's Revolution turns out to be performing at the opening rally, and we get to chat with them awhile. "Whoever it is in power, and whoever you are, they've got a plan for you." Toothed blasts rip through the sound system; they clearly don't know which channel is which. A huge number of Ethiopians demonstrating. This constant motion of many of us, restless inquisitive citizenry, mobile polis. Riot police surround, at various unpermitted intersections, the anarchists who've set off well before the official march, who dance their asses off, ebullient music pouring clear from rolling speakers, not "doing their thing" but revelling in their mutual presence and possibility, a height of joy and thoughtful, thorough organization for which they hardly ever get credit (how I've missed them during the Bush administration, in which they seemed almost invisible). They dance again in a fenced-in alley near the energy center, in front of a troupe of pro-war protesters; the encounter is non-confrontational and hilarious, the cops (I think) afraid to advance into this block with their gas masks and rifles, not wanting to appear over-reactive in the face of such committed, energetic, subversive yet non-threatening activity.

The main march is gigantic--every time it seems we've come to its end (moving backwards along the route toward the car, which we'll take to our tech rehearsal at the Bedlam Theatre) another dense three blocks' worth of people comes into view. Billionairesses in elaborate, buxom costume sing "Oh, show us the way/to the next little war..." Later in the day, of course, the reports start to come in of a dumpster set aflame and pushed into a cop car, of people arrested for moving too slowly down the street, of the main march split into sections, hundreds of people delayed for half an hour at a time, some still not permitted to leave a city block hours later.

At the end of a night at the Bedlam Theatre that includes us (as the Prince Myshkins and the Nonsense Company), Roy Zimmerman, David Rovics, and the WYXY News Show, the punk/folk band Blackbird Raum plays and utterly blows my mind. They're all fine musicians, well-rehearsed--but it's the washboard player who floors me most thoroughly, outdoing the accordion, banjo, washtub bass, musical saw and mandolin, playing ridiculous fills, constantly varying rhythms at blinding tempi. All this unamplified, saturated with friendship between the band members. A young woman with a sprig of fern in her hair dances with another woman, and their closeness is the perfect beautiful compliment, until I forget about them completely in the thrill of the songs. They kept me energetic, as exhausted as I am from marching, tech-ing, organizing... but now, sleep, with no reason to get up before 11.


  • At September 2, 2008 at 6:01 PM, Blogger Reiko said…

    The front of the t shirt -- "we need alot more of this" was the two olympic athletes from the 1968 Olympics who protested with black-gloved fists and heads bowed as they received their medals. It wasn't about baseball....

  • At September 3, 2008 at 12:58 PM, Blogger Andy Gricevich said…

    Thanks, Reiko. That's an important difference; I'll change the post. I only got a quick look at the front before the friendly woman wearing it started trying to sell me the RCP paper...


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