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by Anna Kunkin
Sunday, Jul. 06, 2008 at 8:31 AM
The 2008 Farce of July celebration at Self Help Graphics was a great event in spite of various set-backs. First of all, the event was forced to move at the last minute from its originally scheduled location at 1221 Hope St., when the owner of the venue informed the organizers that he had received word that there would be a police raid.
Venders were informed barely the night before of the move to Self Help Graphics, and people arriving at the advertised address found a note taped to the door letting them know about the location change. Unfortunately the ad continued to run on KPFK informing people of the incorrect address, and many took the metro and were unable to make the adjustment.
Attendance was not as high as expected due to the mix-up, but even so, by 7pm there was a decent sized crowd in the Self-Help Graphics parking lot in time to catch Medusa who gave a great and exciting show. The hot summer sun had cooled down by the time Olmeca appeared, but he heated things up with his new band and his passionate songs about revolution. A song about the May Day 2007 police attacks in McCarthur Park brought back a lot of memories for many.
the many wonderful performers included: 2Mex, Medusa, Kiwi, JRoz & DJ Etho, Aztlan Unearthed, In Lak Ech, Olmeca, Victor E, Skim, Red Maya Jupiter, Sin Miedo, Flatbush,Sherman Austin, Chicano Secret Service, Teatro M3, Faith Santilla, and I'm sure there were more.
I recognized Aztlan Underground, and I saw In-Lak-Ech, a group of women who sang wonderful Mexican indigenous songs. It seemed that every time I looked up there was something cool happening on the stage; hip-hop, comedy, theatre, all kinds of stuff. I’m hoping that others add more photos and videos here to the indymedia site.
There was a lot of consciousness about the event itself, and quite a bit of discussion about the meaning of the Fourth of July and the whole concept of “Independence” in light of how many people have historically lost their freedom so that some could call themselves “Free”.
Another interesting discussion was the idea promulgated by the media, (at whose behest?) … that Black and Brown people are at war with each other. The lie to that supposed idea was obvious in the parking lot of Self-Help Graphics where people of all colors, (whites included), celebrated, if not their independence, their unity and solidarity in the face of common challenges …and enemies.
There was at once a sense of celebration and unity, along with a clear understanding that there is a lot wrong in our times. Mmmm. Maybe a sense of expectation. The system seems to be crumbling around us; and who will be left to pick up the pieces if not those of us who are preparing ourselves for the next phase.
Other issues of interest to the community that were underlined throughout the event are the facts that Cop Watch organizer Joaquin Cienfuego now languishes in jail after being picked up by the police two weeks ago on what is being called a “trumped up” felony charge, the South Central Farmers are facing another battle to save the land at 41st and Alameda from becoming a diesel truck parking lot, and that the people in Chiapas are facing more attacks and oppression by the Mexican government. It was made clear by members of the community that all these issues, among others, need our awareness and attention.
There weren’t as many vendors as usual; and I don’t know if that was due to the location mix-up or the rumors that there was supposedly another competing “Farce” event…????!!!! (Waiting for more info here about that).
There were children’s activities upstairs in the big hall….and members of Aztlan Underground were in the kitchen making tostadas for all!!!! Awesome! Not only were the men cooking the food, but it was THE BAND!!!! Yes, things are changing.
It’s true. We’re not only talking the Zapatista philosophy, but here in our communities we’re living it.
I for one, was really happy to see the event in East LA, where, as the evening progressed, the events on the stage were surrounded by loud noisy and gorgeous firework displays. I don’t know how the people in the neighborhood manage to put up such professional looking shows….but its great! It really adds atmosphere and serves to frame the event in such a way that it reminds us of where we are exactly, what we have to celebrate and what still needs to be done.
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