Arrivees to Downtown must have wondered if the multiple artists painting at easels on city sidewalks were creating the "Watercolor Paintings" advertised on the flyer. Watercolor Paintings is actually the name of a band that performed later on that evening, but it a perfect example of the type of subversion culture jammers, social activists, and anarchists have so much fun with.
At first it was tough to tell if anything was actually going on at all. But there were too many people wearing DIY clothing bearing patches for bands and various political causes for it to be an average day.
My friend and I had some hot tea and chocolate at Back to the Grind Coffee, chatted, and took in the surroundings while waiting to see what would happened. Eventually, someone invited us downstairs, where the movie Steal this film II
" was screened.
The documentary was about the production and distribution of information, making a historical comparison between the invention and dissemination of the printing press and the development of the internet and file-sharing.
Following the film, we walked across the street to the Universalist/Unitarian Church for a talk on veganism. Will, the proponent of veganism who led the chat, was enthusiastic. "I think the reason I've stayed with veganism for so long is that I just love vegetables!"
He began with a story about the time his friend criticized his "hypocrisy" for eating some chocolate with a small amount of milkfat. "You're not a vegan, so why do you tell people you are?" his friend chided. Will emphasized that there are as many definitions of veganism as there are vegans. "To me, that's like a Presbyterian going up to a Lutheran and saying, 'You've got it all wrong, this is the way to be a Christian!'"
The discussed ranged from reasons people choose to be vegan, to health concerns, to recipes. It was then followed by a trip to the kitchen, where workshop participants made vegan sushi and brownies.
While the food was cooking, we went back to the coffee house to join the twenty or so there gathered for a talk on Linux and the open-source software movement.
Afterward, there was a really really free market at the church. Clothes, books, and CDs were set out on tables for people to peruse and take. As we shopped, the kitchen crew brought out delicious snacks to share.
A travelling group of activists who put Earth First
gave a presentation which was well-received, a circle of knitters was formed, and Nick, an advocate of cycling, led a workshop on bicycle maintenance and repair. Topics included properly locking one's bike, flat repair, and chain tension.
Anarcha-LA gave its take on becoming an LA-based anarcha-feminist collective. The panel, which was composed of three men and three women, talked about building solidarity with feminist causes and encouraged the approximately thirty people there to create their own collectives.
The group seeks to establish a presence in the community that allows it to provide resources, social services, and referrals to those in need.
Members of the audience also participated, including some women who discussed their experiences of alienation from mainstream feminism.
The group also invited attendees to its upcoming potluck
on Saturday, February 28, 2009 beginning at around one at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. They'll meet near the corner of 7th and Park View, and encourage others to bring a vegan dish to share.
A "Secret Show" in the library parking lot closed out the night.