Folk Hero, Cop-Killer Anarchist Gets Plaques In London


Update: This is not a picture of Peter afterall! See the new post!

Peter the Painter, a notorious latvian revolutionary who holed up in London for a bit, has been honored with two commerative plaques on housing projects that have been named after him, much to the ire of the police.

Peter the Painter was the possibly fictional person responsible for the shooting death of three police officers… he and his gang (I find it humorous that all accounts talk about the “leader” of this or that anarchist gang) had been robbing a jewelry store to fund their revolutionary activity when they were stopped by police. They won that shoot-out.

Then there was the Siege of Sidney Street. The police tracked down Peter and his gang to a house on Sidney street and well, you guessed it, laid siege. In a perfectly Waco-like moment, “a fire broke out” and the firefighters were prevented from putting out the fire. Winston Churchill himself was present and nearly got pwned when a bullet flew through his top hat. Apparently, this moment was caught on film. I’d love to see it. So anyhow, there was a fire, but the anarchists inside didn’t just surrender out the front door. When police finally entered, they found Fritz Svaars and William Sokolow, anarchists, dead on the floor. No Peter the Painter.

Unfortunately, there’s a chance that Peter was another name for Yakov Peters, who was actually tried and acquitted (7 people, 5 men and 2 women, were tried and acquitted in the aftermath of the siege. None of them cops.), went on to go the Bolshevik route, ruining any good reputation he may have had, and helping form the Cheka, the first soviet secret police. He got his comeuppance in the great purge of 1938.

Now of course, the police in london are calling these plaques an outrage since they defend a “murderer”. Obviously, who gets to call whom a murderer is a matter of who wins the fight in the end… are revolutionaries murderers? Perhaps some of them. Perhaps even all of them. But if so, so are police, presidents, soldiers, executioners (hell, judge and jury at that)… the list goes on. Here were people committed to a purpose, one they considered noble, of human emancipation, when agents of the state came to try and take away their freedom. They defended themselves. I’m glad they’ve got a plaque or two.

Strange Maps & the NWO

My friend Willow just told me about one of the best time-sinks in the known internet, Strange Maps. The picture above is from a a post about how the New World Order was going to divide the world after beating back the axis powers. [Remember kids, WWII was about beating nazis, and the civil war was about emancipation. WWI? Did that even happen?]

The site is filled with an ungodly number of interesting maps. The map may not be the territory, but these ones sure explain things you don’t usually see explained.

Last Night’s Show in Seattle

I don’t think I can really express how amazing last night’s show at The Little Red Studio was. The space, usually an erotic performance theatre, was rented and was well, a really comfortable place to be. (Everyone stayed dressed, however, for better or worse.) The crowd was wondrous. As the first act, it meant the world to me that people came on time. I haven’t asked the numbers yet, but I feel like I played to at least 50 people. And people laughed when I was trying to be funny and sang along when prompted.

But the other musicians… Schrodinger’s Cat was probably the most impressive celloist I’ve ever seen or heard. Up there in his black hoodie, clawing at his instrument like a madman… it was wonderful. The sound cut out halfway through one of his songs and the entire room went dead quiet, so we heard him regardless. I saw Jill Tracy a year ago at Convergence 13, but to see her in this more intimate setting was beautiful. She was joined by Nathaniel Johnstone of Abney Park and Paul Mercer of The Ghosts Project. I can’t get enough of her voice and songwriting.

And then The Ghosts Project came on. The best comparison I can come up with is the live album on Ummagumma (pink floyd) mixed favorably with Godspeed You Black Emperor! and a healthy amount of dark. To say it suit my mood would be criminally understating the situation.

After their set, Nathaniel led the group in some of his solo work, and then every musician of the evening climbed back on stage for two improvised songs. I tell you, it was beautiful.

The show was put on by the astoundingly talented duo Bl00 and Red. (Red, aka Libby Bulloff, is pictured above stalking about through the empty space during load-in.)

I Can Give You Nightmares, Part 2

Now, just who would be enforcing this martial law? Clearly, it’s going to be big dog. Clearly, humans aren’t going to be in charge much longer. You’ve got to watch this video. The beginning is creepy, but it gets worse. I wonder, when they edited this thing, if they realized just how ungodly scary the noises this thing makes?

Last night, before everyone crashed, Paul Mercer [warning: MySpace] of The Ghosts Project [MySpace] showed us this thing. It is, of course, DARPA funded, and they brag about the payload this thing can carry. I don’t think anybody slept easily.

Carbon Scrubber

I’ve always been skeptical of scientific solutions to our global warming woes. By and large, they ignore the fundamental problem: we consume too much. But with things getting as dire as they are, it’s worth looking at some of the last-ditch rescue methods that science has presented us with. And just now, there’s a carbon-scrubbing machine in development in Canada that pulls CO2 out of the atmosphere, anywhere. (previous technologies pulled it out of the source of pollution, like smokestacks).

Of course, they way they’re talking about using this is all kinds of messed up: pollute in the first world, scrub in the developing world. But this thing is worth looking at, worth understanding. In the article, make sure to head down to the comments section: people really know what’s up, for the most part. We can’t count on science as a savior, but we can look to use it to make it through the worst of what lays in store for us.

(Of course, this thing isn’t scrubbing methane, so we’re pwned anyhow).

How to crochet with reused plastic bags


Today I had the pleasure of meeting a friend of mine’s mothers. One of them pulled out a bag she was crocheting, and told us with pride that she had made it from reused plastic bags… in this case, newspaper bags (at the top) and grocery bags (forming the bottom). The thing is quite sturdy and remarkably ingenious. She of course demurred and has pointed out that she’s not the first to do this. But we were super excited and she graciously let us photograph the process of making plastic yarn.

Continue reading How to crochet with reused plastic bags

Murdered in Oaxaca *updated*


Sali, Marcella Sali Grace, was a young woman from Eugene that traveled the same circles I did. I’m not going to claim that I knew her well; we’d crossed paths, we’d spoken, and she’d been very dear to a number of my friends. She was found murdered, rather brutally, in Oaxaca, Mexico. The details aren’t pretty.

Sali was killed, at least in part, because she was a woman. I still to this day run across people who think that feminism is done, that women’s liberation has been won. But it’s not. And of course, liberty won’t come without a fight. I think most of you reading this blog already know this. But Sali’s bravery, her refusal to be cowed by a world that told women they shouldn’t travel alone, it’s important. Her living, her traveling, was an act of standing up for herself and for women everywhere. She, and so many traveler women I know, they forge ground.

*update* It looks like Sali’s friends and fellows in Oaxaca have worked to get the bastard responsible arrested. They put him under guard and traveled to mexico city to get an arrest warrant for him, it sounds like. Also, there are several more pictures of Sali now posted to the thread at Portland Indymedia.

My New (old) Accordion!


In preparation for a return to a wandering lifestyle, I had to come to some decisions in regards to my accordion… namely, my old accordion—a full-size 120 bass monster with three voices (7 switches) on the treble side and and two voices (3 switches) on the bass side—was too large to travel with. I had a small, broken, 80 bass accordion that was wet-tuned (and out of tune), which one portland repair place told me wasn’t worth fixing. But I took it to a second opinion, and I’m glad I did. Eileen Hagen’s Accordion Center fixed it up. If you’re in Portland, she’s the lady to see for repairs. Her prices are reasonable, she sells accordions for good prices, she takes trades, and she—as far as I know—treats people right. She (or rather, her technician) fixed my accordion in less than 24 hours… retuning most of it, putting in a missing reed, putting on new straps, back plate, etc., and I’m pretty happy with it. So now I have one voice on each side but damn it’s light. and all I’m giving up is some volume and the diminished chords.

As soon as I got off the bus to walk to the train station though, the leather of the handle ripped out of my hand and I ended up carrying the damn thing on my shoulder. Sigh. Making a new one of webbing.