Archive - Apr 2006 - Blog entry

May 1st Pamphlet

For the past couple weeks I've been working with folks from AZ Indymedia, Dry River Collective, and Organic Collective in San Diego to produce a bilingual pamphlet that would inform people about the historical/political context of May Day, relating the current immigrant rights upswell to other struggles both past and present. We're going to be printing up a few thousand copies in Tucson today, but we have it available as a downloadable PDF file. It's an 11x17 double-sided design that we're encouraging groups in other cities to download, print, and distribute on May 1.

In a phone conversation the other day a friend said (i'm paraphrasing) that he saw himself in his current situation at his new job at a giant spanish-language media company as getting a chance to move the discourse or rhetoric or identity definitions around this amazing new civil rights movement by some small distance, just nudge it a little. I said that's what everyone's trying to do right now, from national politicians to punk zinesters. So, this pamphlet is part of my microscopic nudging. enjoy.

"On The Edge" Update

There are a few recent developments regarding my film about the Juárez femicide that I haven't blogged about so I thought I would do so today.

  • The DVD is going to be released by a record label that wants to expand into publishing documentaries. I'm excited. The official release won't be till early August, but this may be good because that's roughly the time that some are predicting that "Bordertown," the J-Lo flick about the situation, will be coming out.
  • A new cover for the DVD is being designed. It's a new experience for me working with a professional who is not a friend and who's aesthetic i'm not familiar with. We'll see how it turns out.
  • I talked to someone at Al-Jazeera International last week. This is the new english-language satellite/cable network that is just launching, based in Doha, Kuala Lampur, D.C., and London. There's interest in airing my film or parts of it. I sent a copy, need to follow up on that.
  • Tonight I'm borrowing a car and driving 2 hours to Bisbee to show the film there. Bisbee is a small ex-coppermining town that now is sort of a hippie/retirement/tourism haven. cute little old-fashioned downtown. I hope some people show up. I wish I wasn't going alone. :-( Fortunately it's early and i'll get back to Tucson at a reasonable hour in time to go to a friend's going away party. (there it is again - everyone leaving Tucson as summer approaches. sad.)
  • Tommorow, the film is screening in Arivaca, a tiny little ranching town about 45 minutes south of Tucson. It's part of an all-day "film expo" that is happening.
  • Also tommorrow I'll be on a panel discussion about activist filmmaking as part of the Arizona International Film Festival here in Tucson. I'm going to show a short clip from the film and talk about working with activist groups involved with the Juárez situation.

    So, things are busy with the film. yay. keep checking the film's page for constant updates.

  • Pirate Radio in My Hometown

    Saw a story about a pirate radio station basically in my home town, on Phlegm's blog (out of Urbana, Illinois), getting hassled by the FCC due to complaints from Clear Channel and Cumulus. And they're fighting back in interesting ways!

    I say basically because it's in Bettendorf, one of the the 4 Quad Cities. I grew up in Davenport, the other quad city on the Iowa side of the river.

    Who woulda thunk, pirate radio there? One set of my parents live in Bettendorf and they said it's been big news there.

    crazy crazy times

    This week is proving insane for me: AZ Intl film fest started last week & is going through sunday; working with small adhoc group on a pamphlet for May Day that will be providing a radical context for the immigration rights struggles going on; getting more involved with No More Deaths, talking with them about a new media strategy; financial meltdown; dealing with all the bureaucracy and logistics of getting my DVD pressed; dealing with other possible opportunities involving my film; trying to think hard about a career choice a friend has unexpectedly thrown my way; and trying hard while i have all this other stuff to do during the day to not think too much about this special person who just made my life 10 times more interesting and complicated exactly 4 weeks ago today.... sigh...


    It's so silly when people who have blogs but only write in them sporadically start every entry with something like "I haven't been blogging much, sorry." It's exactly like those zines that start every issue with an editorial that apologizes for being so late. I mean, come on - it's not like this is your job or someone paid you to meet a deadline. Newsflash: every single zine is always late. Unless you make a living from your blog, lighten up and stop apologizing.

    I suppose it's sort of a wishful ego impulse. Everyone wants to believe that there are friends and/or secret admirers and/or colleagues just waiting, checking every morning, for some new nugget of wisdom or juicy life detail on one's blog. And every morning for 34 days they are disappointed, so of course one should give some apology and explanation, like "I've been doing more productive things." That'll make 'em feel better. Maybe get them to realize they're wasting too much time checking blogs. If you can't write 'em, why should they read them? Indeed.

    Dance, Monkeys

    A nice little video about humans and what's wrong with them. I guess it's been going around the net quite a lot, so, sorry if you've already seen it. i'm not perfect. I'm just a monkey.

    Ground Zero for Immigration

    IMG_4236.JPGOne thing I forgot to mention in my blog entry last night about the film "Crossing Arizona" was something ACLU legal observer Ray Ybarra said at the beginning of it: "If you want to understand immigration in this country, come to Arizona."

    That underscores what I've been realizing more and more recently. The more I learn about the immigration issue and especially undocumented migrants and dying border crossers, the more I realize that ground zero is right here in southern Arizona. Over half of the border crossing deaths every year are in Arizona.

    When I moved here I knew the issue was big here, but had not seen statistics like that. I didn't know that, far more than in any other border state, a huge percentage of the land within 100 miles of the border is federal land. And there are all sorts of other facts and figures I can throw out but I haven't had breakfast yet. Basically though, this is the place.

    Crossing Arizona

    Tonite was the first real night of the Arizona International Film Festival and I went to see the opening film, "Crossing Arizona," which is a pretty great documentary about immigration, specifically focused on Arizona and the border here. It's pretty well done. It's low budget, shot on DV, took them 2 years to do it. I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in border and immigration stuff, and if you're in the SF Bay area, it's being shown there now till the 27th at the Roxie. It's not a perfect film. They're a little too easy on the Border Patrol, and I think they didn't spend enough time on root causes like economics. But overall it's very good, and I hope it gets out to a ton of people and helps to raise awareness. It's a very moving film and I got choked up several times.

    Tommorrow is going to be busy. I'm going to a filmmaker's breakfast that the festival is doing, and then going to a little bit of the community Earth Day festivities, and then the summer planning meeting for No More Deaths is happening. I've been wanting to get more involved in No More Deaths and this is probably going to be a good way to start. Then in the evening is the annual Earth First Journal Pie Party and Fundraiser. That should be lots of fun.

    A Good Day For My Ego

    Today I was in the bathroom at Epic Cafe and noticed some new graffiti, and it was about me:
    graffiti about me
    Very weird. Very funny. A German pun on my name. I immediately thought I knew who my humorous admirer was. But as soon as I got back to my table I emailed her a question about it, and she denied doing it. Claimed any graf about me that she wrote would be much more poetic. And besides, she'd already left a note for me somewhere else that I'd found earlier today.

    So it's some secret admirer, or just a joker with a Sharpie and a little knowledge of German. Or I did it, and then forgot about it. The writing kind of looks like mine. Maybe I'm like the guy in that film Memento. Hmm.

    And also today I found something on another Indyblogger's blog that I wondered if it had something to do with me, but thought I was being egocentric to think that. Found out later, yeah, it was inspired by stuff I'd been writing here in my blog. Small world. I will leave it as an excercise to the reader (who gives a damn, and of course you do, right?) to find which blogger I'm talking about.

    Indypendent Publishes My NAFTA piece - sort of

    The Indypendent, NYC Indymedia's print publication, published a big spread about immigration that was a collaboration between me and 2 other Arizona Indymedia volunteers here in Tucson. I wrote the NAFTA sidebar. They chopped it up quite a bit, dropped some stuff out, and added some other stuff. I haven't decided if it's better or worse but it's different enough that I don't know if I should be alone on the byline. Strange feeling to have with an Indymedia publication.

    The basic idea of the article is the same though - NAFTA forced tons of farmers off their land, and ruined the corn business there. And I can claim responsibility for obtaining the excellent quote from Tom Hansen of Mexico Solidarity Network.