Tuesday, May 31, 2011

News from Spain

Fascinating developments out of Spain that you shouldn't overlook.

For more than two weeks, since before Spain’s May 22 local elections, thousands upon thousands of protesters have been gathering in the central squares of major cities to express their anger with the emptiness and disconnectedness of the election campaigns, and outrage at the failure of the political system in general. "Los indignados" — the outraged — as they have become known are still swelling in numbers.

The rage stems largely from a deep economic crisis that has left Spain struggling to emerge from recession and with an unemployment rate of more than 20 percent, the highest in the European Union. Youth unemployment is higher than 40 percent. Unable to afford basic necessities, and confronting a desperate future, the movement is both protesting against the current government and demanding larger systemic change. What's truly amazing however is that participation in the protests hasn't been limited to angry kids - there are many many people gathering in the streets from all corners of Spanish society. Los Indignatos include everyone from construction workers to doctors to lawyers to bartenders. It is still a relatively small movement, but it is developing the look and feel of a large popular revolt.

Since the elections the tone of the protests has shifted, but they haven't ceased.

The 10-minute documentary below is a short interview with Spanish economist and political philosopher Jose Luis Sampedro, interspersed with powerful scenes from the Madrid protests. Sampredo doesn't mince words, and blames Spain's troubles on a corrupt financial system combined with a complete lack of compassion for the unfortunate as reinforced by the media. He predicts that things will get far worse before they get better. The film is required viewing. Hit the CC button in the lower part of the window for English subtitles.

Monday, May 30, 2011

From Memorial Day 1950

by Frank O'Hara
                                            Look at my room.
Guitar strings hold up pictures. I don’t need
a piano to sing, and naming things is only the intention
to make things. A locomotive is more melodious
than a cello. I dress in oil cloth and read music
by Guillaume Apollinaire’s clay candelabra. Now
my father is dead and has found out you must look things
in the belly, not in the eye. If only he had listened
to the men who made us, hollering like stuck pigs!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Peace Go With You, Brother

So long, Gil Scott Heron.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Punk Rock Flea Market

How ya'll been?

Did I mention that that the TENTH Punk Rock Flea Market is coming up? It's the 4th anniversary of Seattle's favorite 12-hour mall, still selling the weirdest objects and most beautiful objets d'art loaded out of basements across the region. We've got some great stalwarts coming back like Adria Garcia and Miss Oblivious, and awesome newbies like Stuff You'll Love and Half Pint Ice Cream.

Plus live music throughout the day by the likes of the Rabbit Stew String Band, the Bucharest Drinking Team, and Ana Bender. And of course the man who brings the party on 45, DJ Port-A-Party. Should be a damn good day. Next Saturday, June, at the Underground Events Center. Where else? Come early and get the pick of the lot, come late and get bargains.

And for Pete's sake it's still just ONE DOLLAR to get in. How the hell do we do it?

Speaking of bargains, I have some beautiful posters for the event, designed and hand-screened in an edition of 50 by Seattle artist NKO. These posters are truly splendid, and I want to mail you one. Just tell me if you want one in comments or send me a note.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kids' Bike Swap

The terrific Kid's Bike Swap takes place this Saturday, May 7 at Genesee Playfield in Columbia City.

The Bike Swap is a yearly component of Bike Works’ non-profit mission to facilitate the flow of affordable bicycles within the community while preventing good bikes from ending up in landfills. Old bikes brought to the swap are assigned a trade value, which can then be applied towards a “new” bike. As a rule, children leave with a new bike costing no more $12. Families looking to buy a bike without a trade-in are welcome at noon.

About 120 families come out for the swap each year, many of them regulars who return every spring. Genesee Playfield is at 43rd Ave. S. and South Genesee Street. Get there early!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Camera

I've been obsessing about a new camera. I would like a good one that fits in my pocket, and that I can use easily while riding my bike. Maybe you have an idea?

To save a few bucks I supposed I could try to make a camera out of an egg. Francesco Capponi did exactly that, converting an egg into a single-use pinhole camera. Capponi shared his photos in the MAKE Flickr pool and posted full instructions on how to make one, but it’s not an easy process. In order to create four good photographs, Francesco destroyed fifty eggs.

If I want the thing to last, perhaps I should build one out of Legos? After more than a year of experimentation, Alabama-based photographer Cary Norton recently completed the Legotron, Mark I a working camera made entirely from Lego bricks. The lens is a 127mm ƒ4.7 he got on ebay for 40 bucks, and it's focused by sliding a box-inside-a-box forward and backward.

I'm open to all ideas.