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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Last day here.  The torpid heat and humidity does at it usually does, slowing things down to a snail’s pace, sitting and enjoying a cafe su da, the Vietnamese coffee made of a strong black brew, heavily sugared condensed milk and ice.  Delicious.  In its black variant (minus the milk part, with a dab of sugar) Marcella prefers it to Italian coffee.  I rank them different and equal.  We bought nearly a kilo of coffee from here to take back to Seoul.

As usual I’ve done little shooting though loaded down with 3 video cameras which I hauled along to let the Ha Noi workshop folks use, but only got one taker.  It is normal for me to be hesitant to shoot in new places, feeling the obligation to look and absorb and find some essential before actually running up footage.  For the most part I have been baffled by Asian cities, feeling a kind of moral demand to make an accurate portrait (and not the touristy or romanticized ones that are the normal view), and have yet to find some key into the aesthetic incoherence and jumble which I find to be the core of them.  With more time I think I could find a way into Ha Noi, as it had a very particular sensibility in its architecture and its feel.  Here in Saigon this seems absent, with a melange of French colonial, recent corporate, and a grab-bag of other improvised poor-man’s architectural forms tossed into a welter of motorbikes, smog, billboards, tropical vegetation, and dirtiness.  The sidewalks are covered with motorbikes in organized parking systems, with numbers scrawled on the seats and attendants waiting to go find the right one.  There’s precious little space for pedestrians, and one must detour into the frantic streets.  The traffic flow is absurd, with buzzing herds of motorbikes entering traffic circles from all directions, running cross flow against each other in the thousands, with cars, buses, and trucks, along with bicycles and rickshaws, and those of us on foot wending way through this dense cloud of belching vehicles.  One would think it would be the cause of a thousand accidents an hour, but last night, sitting at a little outdoor cafe drinking a Saigon bia with Marcella, we watched 10,000 wheels roll by at a traffic circle, and nary a bump.  Were the same scenario played out in Italy, where the visual looks suggest a similarity, it would be a mayhem of violence, with shrieks of arguing profanity, and for sure, accidents.  Here instead it flows on, motorbikes with whole families aboard, stopping where necessary, shifting wherever the current allows, everyone making room for the other without an aura of anger or hostility.  It is really rather amazing, and extends through the whole city, engorged on these mechanical beasts.  Watching them go by in their thousands and millions, I can’t help but wonder just where they came from and where they are going.  Like many such southern climed places, few seem to actually work.  The markets are crammed with little shops, each attended by 2, 3 or 5 attendants, some sleeping in the heat, and here culturally they are there to sell, at least to the obvious foreigner presumed to be loaded with cash to spend, and they seize you at the slightest hint of looking with any interest, offering for a price that plummets 50% in an instant if you appear like you might buy, but not for the opening number.  Last night Marcella got hustled into trying on a dress she looked at which was too small, but the lady seized her, slipped on a larger size, offered for 600,000 which shifted precipitously to 400 and then 200 when Marcella insisted she only had 200,000.  Talk about a discount.  But the dress didn’t fit and they guy she was with, an adamant non-consumer, was impatiently moving on, so the sale didn’t happen.

Lazily we’ve done only a few things – a visit (described at to the War Remnants Museum, long walks through the center of the city, the zoo (more by accident than design), and yesterday to the Fine Arts Museum.  It was a crumbling decaying colonial building, stained with the grime of 100 years, its stucco textured with time and no maintenance, an Italianate mansion of a building, with hints of indigenous aesthetics in the roof details.  They were putting up a new exhibit of current painting, mostly art student level, illustration, gaudy colors, ranging from pure kitsch “neked lady” items, to pastiches of international styles of the last century.   A few evinced some inherent talent and visual acuity, most did not. However a floor of older – meaning 1930’s through the American War period – work was quite interesting.  Normally I find war paintings to be unsuccessful as “art” – thinking of the German expressionist works from WW1, and other examples.  But here there were a number of works which worked as “art” while addressing the war in more or less propagandistic terms – paintings of jungle encampments, of guerillas (male and female), works which evoked the war, but in aesthetic terms that worked as painting.  Some particularly interesting ones were in lacquer techniques about which I’d like to study a bit and try out myself.

Time running out as must leave hotel in a few minutes, then to wander the streets until this evening for a mid-night flight back to Seoul and new apartment and teaching on Monday.

Just a note to say posted item on Viet Nam travels, ruminations, etc. a in case you are interested.

Arrived yesterday, and had time for a long walk, a good meal, and for a nasty bronchial sinus thing to fully develop.  A very different city than Ha Noi, this one is clearly a lot bigger, richer, more “westernized” and corporatized.  Billboards everywhere, and that seemingly universal imperative, shopping (for the same corporate logo items, high and low end: Armani Chanel Pierre Cardin Vuitton Gucci and down lower Nike etc.)   Likewise the newer architecture is generic big city.  Marcella commented that it seemed a bit like LA – a run down version for sure, and having been there I’d say more Manila (which I thought had LA-like areas).  The traffic is thick with motorbikes though they drive in much more orderly manner than in Ha Noi.  My off-the-cuff view is that I prefer Hanoi, which is distinctive in its architecture, in the layout of the urban texture, and seems far less overwhelmed by global capitalism’s tastes and dictates.   Of course Hue was more so, but it is a village by comparison.

Anyway we have 4 full days to wander the by-ways of Saigon/HCM before heading back to the comparatively hyper-modernism of Seoul.  More to come.

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful." – Seneca the Younger

In the Name of Religion People and God

You open the newspaper and the first thing you read today is “Woman burnt, raped, 12 churches razed during Orissa bandh” and you wonder, as to why wont religion go away.

Well we may have some answers in regards to this perplexing question. To start with, It is now confirmed (by neurogenetics) that religion like sex is hard-wired into us by evolution and so here to stay. (though there are good reasons for doing that and one can trust evolution) But with the rapidly changing times, there seems to be something amiss from its essential know-how.

When Marx mused and voiced that deadly fact, that religion is like opium, he was not altogether wrong, but on spot, except that he relied too much on the Hegelian sociological make-up rather than the human body itself. Infact advances in the body (neurobiology) has progressed only recently after the collapse of freud-ual block that hindered progress by locking all research to its own underlying understanding of ‘its’ psyche.(I am using ‘its psyche as there is no such thing as a general psyche, but always specific psyches, for example, a Muslim psyche, a Hindu psyche,) The conclusions surprisingly seems not-too-different than what the Buddhist or Hindu yogic text have been saying all along.

Another aspect of religion is that it operates on and from the primordial level of self-experience, which simply means that it generates experience. Which means that there is no way to get into its working via empirical methods or analytics; which is obvious from the fact that a Christian dreams about Christian Icons and Hindu dreams of his and all this arises from the abysmal depths of seething self orienting fields of ones ownmost consciousness or sense making. Roughly translated, this means that all mediation, meditation, and self-reflection into ones own deep and profound religious experience is like the thread of Ariadne which (contrary to the Greek myth) only takes one inside but never takes one out of the Labyrinth, cause the Labyrinth (in the present case and as always) vanishes into the matrix of our own cunning (which is evolutionary bound much like the celebrated idea of vasna), and this evolutionary smartness has today become our Minotaur. Which means in the majority of cases one is only ‘interested in finding out ways to confirm, authenticate, fortify the answers we already have’; that is, what ever the authorities have said and written (and these often change from religion to region, and often with absurd twists.) Though there have been attempts by psychoanalytical schools to separate, filter, categorise and furnish a common base in the form of ‘the varieties of religious experience’, but the fact remains that there is none (knowing the nature of the psyche and that any two can hardly be one, and as every experience re-generates/squeezes itself out of the whole history without which there would be no experience at all, and as we would have no way to know/tell/experience what is this that arises) there are no transcendental common ground as the pseudo-mystics would have us believe.
It is also true that the lack of sameness does make humans extremely insecure, and there lies the root of all our neurotic fanaticism. We have a hard time trying to be what we are not and there arises a point where things just start to crack; thus people are often found seeking pro-actively those very states and situations that simply mirror and bounce their psyches: -for example, my religion, my nation, my language, (Amchi Mumbai) the list can go on and on.

Also religion grounds itself through emotive seizures that are deeply locked in metaphorical self-ligature and this could be the missing link. Metaphors abstracts humans from every other thing, and in this sense it makes us unique in the whole universe; But this abstraction happens ‘Only’ in, within and through the linguistic space that happens to originally ground all our knowing and seeing, that the deep and access enabling loka that names and marks our selves as ‘Self’. -lingering in its womb lies the kernel out of which arises all fundamental self-reflections and the very human self-consciousness ‘itself’, and thus, the loss of metaphors is the loss of self and the self is all-round us with its artefacts that it has put there in and within whose company it becomes itself, feels familiar and secure, and thus what ever disturbs the self disturbs the individual as a whole… So in this sense the pope, mullah and the pundit all three need to sit together and think a bit deeper than they would usually allow themselves to indulge. And as there are no ‘value neutral’ universal ground, guide and rules on which one can stand and decide -judge as to with is right: It becomes quite knotty here. (cause how else are we to make sense as to who we are, and to what and where lies our cahoots) and as all decisions are locked internally, ‘in, within and through the linguistic space that grounds all our knowing and guides all seeing from the outset,’ we enter the realms of the ouroboros (The Tantric symbol of snake eating its own tale… and contrary to Jung’s mystifications, it actually and originally meant, that there is no value free, original and universal ground on which man can stand, and that there are no ways out of the horizons that give rise to our Self and there is no outside of this inside, as all outside is ultimately nothing other than the flourishing of  the linguistic and metaphoric powers that  guide all our thinking and feeling and mark all seeing-showing from the outset.)

So…as, its turns out, (when it comes to religion, race, self etc.) it becomes a problem of deep language, and the deep histories that breathe it, pronounces it, emerge, make manifest, make present, to spread and transform and convert everything into its own image till the whole world is filled with lookalikes….and when everything has been reduced to a monology of self-sameness, then…then… then what?

May be a little Yoga may help here, Pranayama does not mean just controlling ones breath, but in a deeper and original sense getting inside, regulating, controlling, disciplining, meditating on and upon the deep histories that breathes us, pronounces us emerge, make manifest, make present.
I have tried to explore this side of reality in the funny little story “Bhalu’s Apprenticehood (A battle against Sleep)”

So is there an end to religion, do we require a new body-world, a new brain. After all the body is the world and the brain is the body, none of the three can be separated and isolated out of the other, and this is the hardest part to grasp.

Existence, life, world and being like Brahman is something which is fundamentally a-casual, open and given unconditionally to all and everyone, where one is by ones very givenness (Darshan) open in and having access to the sacred by simply ‘being’ there as that very opening of the openness; But this very opening of the openness, the openness of the Self is now divided, segmented, conditioned, controlled, and thus destroyed by religion -because what divides, conditions controls, destroys what is essentially unconditional, undivided, given, open and a-casual.

Coming back to us and our ways, I am sure there is nothing wrong with us Hindus, except we are no different from our ‘other’ (in-spite of all our sadhus, saints and great books of wisdom.) I am sure the current events and violence would make us Proud. And pride is a strange word, and everyone in his own humble and meek way is proud of his/her culture, its literature, its promise of transcendence and deliverance into sukha from the earthly bondage, its misery and corruption, its pain and dukha, and above all, an access to the divine and godly, and also its sacred etcetera, etcetera, but what is strange and uncanny about all this massive baggage of accumulated (sacred and wise sayings) is the fundamental mystery underlying this sense of ‘A Proud […]‘ etcetera etcetera. That is; in-spite of it all, we/they have no way to fundamentally transform ourselves, except all this only ends up producing some strange and contrived distortions in our psychic-make-up by fragmenting what is essentially Whole and Holy.

Fundamentally we Hindus today seems to have nothing truly spiritual to fall back upon, thus there is this clinging, holding tight to ones bosom; -like a infantile to his milk-bottle we tightly cling to our books, authorities, which means past, the dead, the ghostly spirits and in the panic and inflation of this falleness we experience ones being as ‘A Proud Hindu’, a proud Christian, a proud Muslim a proud maoist, so on and so forth. (which is essentially a symptom of the lack, a lack of any direct access into the sacred and the spiritual which gets reduced to the infantile “My Papa is the greatest”) Thus we are condemned to live in the past, with ghosts “Bhoots” and their bhava[vis] “Bhavaish-futural projections” that is in and within the spirits of the dead and the ‘non-existing’: -that is find oneself not in ‘being’ but in ‘non-being’ or ‘avidya’”.

Nevertheless it is quite normal and ordinary to blame the other (though there is and always are some underlying causes), nevertheless It is something we always end up doing individually and collectively. Our evolutionary advantage today seems to have become our greatest nemesis -Our Karmic surplus that contains the seeds of its own downfall.

note: (By holy I mean Whole or that which cannot be contained , owned, or divided)

Bhava[Avesa] = from Sanskrit ‘vis‘, to enter into, that is to enter into a state of violent emotion or emotional frenzy, loose one mind into…

Additions to “All about Earth Insects, Ufo’s and Aliens”

The Film ‘A bugs life’ was said to be inspired by the Greek fable which went like this ” One summer day a grasshopper was singing and chirping and hopping about. He was having a wonderful time. He saw an ant who was busy gathering and storing grain for the winter.
“Stop and talk to me,” said the grasshopper. “We can sing some songs and dance a while.”
“Oh no,” said the ant. “Winter is coming. I am storing up food for the winter. I think you should do the same.”
“Oh, I can’t be bothered,” said the grasshopper. “Winter is a long time off. There is plenty of food.” So the grasshopper continued to dance and sing and chip and the ant continued to work.
When winter came the grasshopper had no food and was starving. He went to the ant’s house and asked, “Can I have some wheat or maybe a few kernels of corn. Without it I will starve,” whined the grasshopper.
“You danced last summer,” said the ants in disgust. “You can continue to dance.” And they gave him no food.

The moral of the story is that: There is a time to work and a time to play.

Interestingly the Children film “A bugs life” completely inverts the original. The grasshoppers are shown to be the devilish ‘Mafia’ like while the ants meek and innocent; The basic emotion aroused is to protect and save the ants from the Grasshoppers. It may not seem obvious at first but this new theme marks the neo- pro active morality and runs under the hood of the modern neo-conservative American consciousness. One just has to pick up Ayn Rand or the latest avatar “Manliness” by Harvey C. Mansfield, with the moral lesson that the strong should protect the weak, Insha’Allah ‘La Iraq’.

Unfortunately manliness for the neo-cons mean, sending every one to war except themselves (after all their job is to persuade hoodwink run and maintain the war machine) and all done on a geo-corporate level with the defence industry getting all the spoils of the war.(which roughly means getting total control of earth’s vital resources) and where the new mantra being the calculus of pre-emption, that is a sort of “Total Preparedness in Total Mobilization” (both sort of exploitation go hand in hand)
But what about Womenliness? Anyway who cares about Gandhi

On the other hand the children film “Antz” takes a different stance altogether with NewYork comedian Woody Allen as the main lead voice is an ant who dreams of becoming the ultimate male hulla (a neo dandy warrior type as opposed to the neo-working class) mirroring August Strindberg’s classic 1888 play “Miss Julie” with a Shakespearian twist in the story that happens to be driven by a Comedy of Errors that land him from existential zerodom to herodom to loves utopia realized.

But if these were not enough, Tom Hanks the multi Oscar winner actor had other dreams. On he comes with “The Ant Bully” (which rather floped as it tried to find solution in a neo-con-harry-potterian like magic potion driven wizardry that sought to pass under the hoot (sorry I meant hood) its neo “Band of Brothers” morality)

All of a sudden it seems as if our children’s mind are now been targeted by some unearthly Alien force armed with the latest pokemonian neurological and biological finds and backed by the most recent fraud-ian depth psychology schemes… (After all, there is some truth in the saying “Catch them young) Gauging the essence of our times these films in their own way sought to realize, render and reorder the world in their own self Image and that to at an ultra low latency level of self existence. But down below the semblance of these multi-angled-perspectives, unconscious to even the deep analytic minds (the authors) of these dramas, hovers a single monolithic Arch-text. Without this Arch-text it would find itself completely empty of any self content, thus it engages in a blind march, a technological emptying of the world into its symbolic cup/grail/chalice. (almost with religious conviction). It almost seems as if there is no way out of this deep history that locks earth, man and world into its gestalt (from the outset) in a mimetic reproduction of its own self-image (King Midas like with its Dionysian mimicry of a cancerous way that spread into everything it touches). The world sways in its swell and tide, all things are found accelerating, times compresses itself, the present is outpaced and obsoleted at an even faster pace to a point that the mind stops thinking, the numbness spreads, man has no time, and the past has become valueless.

Still…I am also along all these reminded of the forgotten classics such as Jiri Tranka‘s “The Cybernetic Grandma” and “The Hands” but more on it.. later.

Jon here.  A little update on travels and such.  Yesterday after a long air flight delay (9 am departure shifted to 3 pm) we arrived in Hue, former long ago imperial capitol of Viet Nam.  From the air we passed over areas of the once DMZ, a landscape of bomb-crater pockmarks, which looked like the signs of some kind of mineral extraction.  Ride in on bus from airport showed numerous religious sites, burial grounds, temples.  Hue is a small place now, much quieter that Ha Noi.  We took a walk into old section, a dense communal setting of narrow alleyways, and a mix of homes opening out into the little passageways, or homes the living rooms of which are 2 seat tea houses, or selling beer from fridges.   We stopped to have a dinner in a small restaurant but they refused to serve us, a bit of hostility showing.  Later found a place clearly used by expats and the like, with english language sign out of very funky place, saying owner is deaf and mute, all communication by signing.  Went in, food was good, as was beer, about $8 for two.  4 Aussies of my age or close sat at next table gorging and boozing.   Walked back to hotel in rain, with rickshaws pulling by periodically asking if we wanted a ride.

Today is sunny and we’ll go maybe on motorbike, touring Royal sites, etc.  Or we’ll walk.

In Ha Noi, we wrapped up the workshop with a look at what the students had done, which in fact came out better than I’d expected, with a few very nice things – one experimental kind of thing, which would manage OK in some festivals for such films.  It was clear at least one little group had picked up on some of the things we’d tried to pass along.  The rest wandered from good to dubious.  Then a ceremonial wrap up with long-winded thanks and such from the Film Department folks, and then from me a short word or two.  Followed with passing out little certificates, lots of photos, and then the participants took us out to a restaurant of a funky kind located on West Lake, up on a rooftop.  At first dragonflies buzzed about, and as the sun settled, out came the bats, either making short work of the dragonflies, or else the insects know when to duck and cover.  And then a massive thunder and lightening storm rolled in, and the hundred white swan pedal boats on the lake scooted to home-base, and our group all scooted downstairs for cover.  A wonderful show of distant lightning came, but the threatened rain did not.

Tomorrow on to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), which is we are told bigger and more hectic than is Ha Noi, though some Italians Marcella talked to in a Buddhist temple who were practicing some kind of sword using exercise said they preferred Saigon to Ha Noi.  We’ll have 3 plus days to enjoy before we decamp for Seoul.

It for now.

Note:  whatever the problem was in Ha Noi, I don’t know the origins, but apparently at least here WordPress is not censored and I’m posting this one myself.

New Challenges for Documentary

New Challenges for Documentary by Alan Rosenthal

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Articles are hit or miss depending on their subject and my personal interest. I picked this up mostly for its perspective on the 1973 PBS series An American Family. Now, I am perusing other entries.

View all my reviews.

After a rushed week of packing and moving home cross-city in Seoul, in a significant down-market drop from university paid lux apartment to $370 a month 3 room apartment in a far-from-the-center neighborhood, we had a day to settle and then take the metro to the airport for the flight to Hanoi.  Here we’re on day 4 of a 6 day workshop organized by the Vietnam Film Department, a government agency dealing with filmmaking and exhibition.  As anticipated the workshop is turning out to be an iffy matter.  Originally we were told there would be 40 participants – way too many for my tastes – and they’d mostly be “professionals.”  Day one started with 21 or so, a handful of film students and the rest from various film units – police, army, docu – and a mix of others, including some directors.  Mostly cameramen (35mm mostly) and directors. A handful of women of the 21.

I showed them some DV shorts, of experimental kind, hoping to open their eyes to digital possibilities, but feeling it was a risk for these kinds of people.  It was, and they were apparently mostly left perplexed.  Asking for an introduction of themselves, and of their interests, they said, mostly repeating each other, they wanted to learn low-budget film techniques, and how to make work that was commercial and how to sell, etc.  Internally I rolled my eyes, thinking “you got the wrong guy here.”  But I kind of knew this would be the story here, in keeping with my experience in some nearby realms – Singapore, India, Philippines.  They dream of making bucks, competing with Hollywood, and maybe in Hong Kong and Beijing they can, but not here.

Vietnam has a population of 93 million these days, and it is poor – though allegedly their economy is growing in leaps and bounds.  Hanoi is a jammed melange of architectural curiousities – colonial and governmental buildings, some new high-rises, and mostly 3-5 floor long thin buildings each topped with a kind of improvised fantasy, very interesting in many ways.  On the streets a million motorbikes compete with far fewer cars, in a smoggy mess, in which lanes are conceptual only, with little practice.  Kind of like southern Italy, except where in Italy there is a sense of frenetic spurting ahead, passing, and an aura of anger over it all, here it is in fact messier traffic-wise, but the ambiance is calm, and there is little sense of anger, rather a perhaps Buddhist resignation to the way of things.

Anyway back to the workshop.  After a first day of feeling a bit wobbly, had them shoot some things and got some interesting things back, if all rather timid relative to my request to let ‘er rip with digital mayhem and fun.  After a look at the first things I gave an exercise of limited shots, time, and the rule to keep the camera fixed except for one shot of 8 to 12.  When they came back most had ignored the rules, shot numbers, camera movement, etc.  So I pointed out how the few that had kept to the rules worked and looked better, and then I sent them out to try again.  We looked at those, and sensing a kind of frustration in them, I asked if they’d like to break into groups and make a film the last 4 days.  They said yep and so today we talked a little, did a head count (down to 12 or 13) and let them go try to shoot little films.  One about gays and HIV; one about “loyal virginity” (fictions), then a few docs.  They are due on Saturday afternoon i.e., two and a half days.  Tomorrow we’ll see what they’ve done and help with advice and editing if need be.  I am not optimistic on the results, but hopefully it’ll come out OK.   Basically their schooling is here is very much rote learning, by the book, and though they purport to be professionals, little things like white balance, keeping the lens clean, etc. seem to elude some of them.  I think the reality is that between the educational methods and poverty here, they get little chance to actually practice and shoot/edit.  I have been underlining that this is what they need to do, and that DV lets them do it for lowest possible costs.  Hopefully a bit sinks in.

Tomorrow we’ll meet and have lunch with the director of the film department and if circumstances allow I’ll propose possibly returning either for a long workshop (6 days under the circumstances of limited equipment, breaking culturally imposed learning habits, etc. is really not enough) or perhaps for a year or two to set up a proper little school.  It is interesting and lively enough here to be inviting, and I guess my sense of moral obligation to this country and its people is such that a little something nudges and says to me, return a small bit of something as recompense for how much the USA inflicted in damage here.  So I’ll report on this after the lunch and we see if there’s this option for the future.

I note here that apparently is censored here in Vietnam as I am unable to access here, and note that other wordpress things don’t open.  So I’ve posted this to Ryan who is posting from Milwaukee for me.  (Thanks Ryan!)

DENVER – Activist groups say the converted warehouse poses a threat to civil liberties. The city maintains the facility is needed in case of mass arrests during the Democratic National Convention.

“The public was never going to view this place, it was just found out,” Spagnuolo said. “They got caught with this place. They told our lawyers in negotiations that this place didn’t even exist.”

The makeshift holding center, dubbed “Gitmo on the Platte” by activists, is located on city-owned property near Steele Street and 38th Avenue. Newly-installed security cameras guard the exterior, chain-link fences and barbed wire form cells inside.

“We feel the city should be ashamed of this secret prison they’ve set up,” said Re-create ’68 organizer Glenn Spagnuolo.

Spagnuolo and other activists gathered outside the formerly-secret facility on Friday to protest the city’s plan to use it as a processing center for all those arrested outside the DNC.

“The public was never going to view this place, it was just found out,” Spagnuolo said. “They got caught with this place. They told our lawyers in negotiations that this place didn’t even exist.”

“This was never a secret site,” said Undersheriff Bill Lovingier, the city’s director of corrections.

Lovingier said the city had long planned to build a new holding facility for the DNC, which triples the processing speed of the city jail. Lovingier said the Steele Street warehouse will be able to process 60 arrestees an hour.

“This center is designed as an arrest processing site,” Lovinger said. “There will be no housing or long-term detentions.”

Activists said that claim was doubtful.

“What’s going to happen here is police are going to detain people for an inordinate amount of time,” said Unconventional Denver organizer Ben Yager. “They’re going to use this as an excuse to keep people out of the courts and off of the streets.”

Protest groups questioned whether the makeshift facility would be suitable for inhabitation after years as a storage facility.

Lovinger said air-conditioning has been installed and the Denver Fire Department has certified it meets fire codes.

“We’ve provided for restroom facilities, water, medical assistance,” Lovingier said. “We tried to mirror in thisfacility what we do every day in our city jail.”

(Copyright KUSA*TV. All rights reserved.)
I looked up this Recreate ’68 group the article mentions. I’d be interested to hear from Jon who what there in ’68 about the differences from then and now. One difference I am guessing is that this time around marketing appears to play a bigger role…check out the ‘official logo’
It was a great demonstration and Ive got the t-shirt to prove I was there.

It was a great demonstration and I've got the t-shirt to prove I was there.

The last days have been a mess of moving down-market, from our Yonsei paid 15 floor fancy-ass apartment (everyone who entered it exclaimed how nice and how big it was, for Seoul) located near downtown, and into a cramped little 3 room place in Hwagok, a residential area of middling economic level about 40 minutes from downtown by metro.  We packed everything up, and some moving guy came and did the manhandling in and out for $150 on a steamy hot day.  Started at 7am, got moved into new place by 10.  Unpack and try to figure out how to cram it all into our limited space – we’re going to have to do a major weed-out of earthly possessions.  Today, second day of new home, it’s almost sorted, but lots of loose ends which will have to await our return from Vietnam, for whence we depart tomorrow morning.  There a day in Hanoi, then a few in a beach area not far from Hanoi, and come Monday start a 6 day workshop for the Vietnam Film Department.  Should be interesting.  I’ll try at the same time to shoot some kind of film, probably an essay-poem of some sort on the meaning of “Vietnam” in this life, in their lives, and in many American’s lives.  A meaning which reverberates today under a new sound, “Iraq”.  And I read a fleet of America’s Shockingest and Awingest is at this moment steaming toward the Persian Gulf, prepping to flex George’s apparently drunken inclinations in time to swerve America’s elections (off a cliff).

Anyway we’re off in some hours, and I’ll try to find time and mental something to post some thoughts from Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City.


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