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15th Avenue NW, Seattle, Washington
July 31st, 1999

KPFA Protest
I packed a single box with all the weird little votive candles I have sitting around on every horizontal surface in my apartment this morning and then decided it was time for lunch. Like exercise, one must loosen one's muscles before any serious packing, so stopping after one box seemed prudent. Drove over near the Berkeley campus to have a hot dog at the original Top Dog stand while the landlord sprayed what appeared to be nerve gas around the base of the house, covering the ground afterward with sheets of black plastic. Mr. Wuss was asleep in the bedroom, windows closed, so I split. He should be safe, but what the hell, there's plenty more cats like him at the pound. Waved to the landlord in his white bubble topped suit. He didn't wave back.

Parked, ordered hot dog. Weird old hippie freak waiting in line notices my camera and asks if the march has started yet, he evidently leaving the scene for a short break to fortify himself with hot dogs before the hike. I don't know, I said. What march? The protest against the firing of the enormously popular KPFA radio station manager and then later the firing of some miscreant staff announcers who'd had the temerity to suggest that it sucked. On the air. Ah yes. It comes back.

KPFA is a radio station located in Berkeley with a pedigree extending well back into the radical dark ages of the Vietnam war. Gay Pride Parade, San Francisco It's part of the five station Pacifica Foundation with an incredible history of innovation in the development of public supported alternative radio. Imagine a university with the usual weird hip off the wall student population, nothing like the old days, you understand, but still, attracting the best, the brightest and the more liberal, dropped into the middle of a town with a general population of weird off the wall stuck on drugs stuck on life stuck on intellectual pursuits stuck on the same sex who are more liberal than the students called Berkeley. KPFA is their radio station. I listened to KPFA during the 70's after KSAN died, but I haven't listened to it more than once or twice since. I haven't listened to much of anything since.

So I walked the two blocks to Sproul Hall, site of the original Free Speech Movement, and there were about (according to the newspapers the next day) 10,000 people holding signs, banners, paper mache heads, dogs and at least one cat. I wondered about the cat. I shot pictures, but half heartedly. I should have gotten into people's faces since no one would have said a word. This was a polite crowd, people pushing baby strollers, people with carefully lettered well constructed signs, the police clearing the traffic, everybody keeping to the street allowing the street vendors along Telegraph Avenue room for their customers on the sidewalk. I don't know, it was Berkeley, doing a walk through reminiscent of times past. Not a whole lot of media, but some, one or two still photographers, most of the others amateurs.

I'm going to blame my lack of enthusiasm on the move and the moon and not worry about it until I get into the new place. I had this thought maybe I'd like to start developing my own film again so under these circumstances I could have it ready to scan on the same day. I will fight this thought. I've had it before. Creates deadlines. Sounds like work.

The landlord was finished when I returned. Mr. Wuss was still taking his nap and although there was the odd blue colored dead bird splayed out beside the front door, everything else seemed normal. The one box I'd packed sat sulking in the living room. I thumped it once as I passed. Wuss gave me a half awake punk teenager glower and moved over. It's the weekend. I'm tired. I need my asleep.

The banner photograph was taken in Seattle from my car window on 15th Avenue NW. The weird out of focus character was taken at the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco.