I arrived in Amsterdam a few days ago, and a friend picked me up from the train station. It would be simplest to say that it felt good: for the past four years since I left this place, I’ve had constant reoccurring (pardon my spelling: the browser is set to underline everything that isn’t dutch) dreams about coming back to Amsterdam. In most of those dreams, I can’t find my friends, all the squats I knew were gone, everything was changed and I was a stranger.
That stuff is only partly true. The scene here is a lot more divided than it was four years ago, and an anti-squatting law is looming over the country like… like something bad that looms. Like the threat of Voldemort. Squatting is only legal here because the squatters fight tooth and nail for their spaces. In the 80s, some ridiculously large percentage of Amsterdam was squatted. Now it is a fraction, but it is a vibrant and wonderful fraction.
Anyhow, that first night, I woke up at dawn and went up on the roof of the place and took pictures. The cat was kind enough to join me.
Continue reading Amsterdam
I’ll probably update Birds somehow, but I’m ditching my computer to travel for 3 months or so, including doing a book tour with dates in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and Italy. More info about those, hopefully, later.
edit: read this.
I’m almost done with yet another cross-country roadtrip, but last week I was in Goffs.
A bit of my molar came out just now while I was eating a waffle. Doesn’t hurt, not yet. I feel like, somehow, this makes me a little closer to Poltics Is Not A Banana with its constant references to “our rotting teeth.”
Tour continues! I have a chance to stay in Portland and breathe a little bit, which is exciting.
The event at Modern Times was good, and it was exciting to meet more of the folks behind AK Press. And to eat the largest falafel I’ve even imagined to exist.
The next day, I spoke at a packed Long Haul infoshop in Berkeley. It went wonderfully, in no small part because of the hilarious readings by Tomas of Rad Dad and Artnoose of Ker-Bloom!.
Then Artnoose and I headed up to Portland, and on Monday I shared the stage with Ursula K Le Guin, who is absolutely amazing. She read from The Dispossessed and Always Coming Home, then I did my presentation, and we spent most of the hour or so answering questions. There was only one person who was all “nurrr why do you anarchists always ruin everything?” (which was funny because I’d just told the anecdote of someone asking Kurt Vonnegut “Mr. Vonnegut, why are you ruining the youth of America?”). But the room was absolutely packed, with over 300 people, and an amazingly diverse and attentive crowd. Certainly one of the highlights of at least the last year or so of my life.
Tomorrow I’m speaking at The Red and Black Cafe at Portland, then up to Seattle, down to Olympia, and then… no idea after that.
Tucson, Arizona: I spoke at what was Dry River‘s first event since running into (and navigating) a bit of a legal mess. The place was packed. Plus, I ate a ton of really cheap awesome burritos, since I was there for three days.
Los Angeles: I’d never been to Los Angeles before, and it’s sort of frightful, I have to admit. But I had a perfect excuse to listen to Black Planet by sisters of mercy (driving down the highway 101, heading for sunset [boulevard]). The weather was eerily warm, but the reception at Book Soup was warm as well, and I met several awesome folks, including the first time I’d met Carissa van den Berk Clark, who is in my book, in person.
Santa Barbara: I met the earth first! roadshow folks in a park in front of city hall, after busking on State street. It was refreshing to do an event outside, and it was creepy to be wearing a tshirt. The EF! folks did an awesome job afterwards of making everyone feel connected, and it was a pretty good place.
Santa Cruz: Santa Cruz is full of shiny people. That is, full of people that I’d known for years but hadn’t seen in equally as long, as well as awesome new folks. Today I saw sea lions and they weren’t even in a
prison zoo. The event was at SubRosa infoshop and was coordinated by the talented artist and interesting fellow Wes Modes. Hurrah for anarcho-steampunks!
Right now I’m in San Francisco, getting ready to speak at Modern Times.
Traveling is fun. Touring is fun. You come up with weird inside jokes that you think everyone will find hilarious, and then what’s hilarious is that no one else finds them hilarious. Anyhow, the first leg of our tour, from Baltimore to Pittsburgh, was the four of us pictured. From left to right, that’s Rollerskate, Relocate, Undedicate, and Vacate. Because we decided we were all named Kate. Since then, we’ve had Sophisticate, and “whatever, I’m ignoring your stupid game” with us. Anyhow, this photo is by the amazingly talented Undedicate, who authors the remarkable zine No Gods, No Mattress which is a personal zine that’s actually really really worth reading. Photo was taken in Athens, GA. And it’s true, a fisheye lens makes everyone look like a band.
I’m halfway between Austin and Tucson (which is to say, I’m in El Paso) and I’m probably more than halfway done with the driving, but only a quarter done with my book talks. And it’s been going awesome. The book talks, to be sure, but I just feel… I feel like myself again. I was worried, going into this tour: who would ever want to travel with an itinerary? Where’s the fun (read: chaos) in that? But the trip has been full of adventure. Shove an amazing and rotating cast of 4-5 folks into a minivan, and everything will be interesting, if nothing else.
I’d been to New Orleans only briefly, but this time I may have left my heart there. I watched birds fly before the endless sunset while on an abandoned rooftop punk show, I found rusty stuff everywhere, and the Iron Rail Infoshop is one of the best I’ve ever seen. (It’s crusty friendly, and seems to be holding it down for anarcho and crusty, which is a dying trend across the country).
I’d never stepped foot in Houston before, but Sedition Books is lovely, and the place was packed for the book talk. And the hospitality? Incomparable.
Austin is a beautiful town. A local community radio recorded the event at Monkey Wrench Books.
I’ve been traveling with my anarcho-sibling Micah Killjoy, who is another wandering soul and photographer. Anyhow, she took some lovely pictures of us (that’s me, then Calamus, then Enola, who, in addition to Micah, made up our crew down to New Orleans) along the way on the book tour. And she puts stuff online at her blog: The Forest Loved The Sea.
So… it’s already like a week into 2010, but I figured I’d do that fun year-in-review thing.
- I released my first book, Mythmakers & Lawbreakers.
- I released a photo book, Being the Adventures of One Fine Summer.
- I edited an issue of the Earth First! Journal.
- I played a bunch of music shows, though I also kind of got sick of what I sing and have been working on changing that.
- I did a mini speaking tour about MMLB that included Ithaca, Philly, Baltimore, Asheville, and Chapel Hill.
- I got over massive heartbreak and came out happier than I’ve been in years.
- I bought a minivan to live and travel in.
- I learned how to shoot.
- I started going to goth clubs again, and not just cause I was in the band or roadying.
- I finished my first novel-length fiction work, which will be released in 2010.
- Learned the basics of letterpress.
- probably some other stuff.
year in review? 2009 was awesome. Thanks, world. In 2010 my goals are to: use the computer less (make physical things again, yay!), get out of the country at some point, start a radical goth magazine, and get Colander Press off the ground.