A radical permaculture blog to make places better on the inside and out!

Posts tagged “street art

New wall animation from Blu!

Street art animation

Seeing as blu is one of my favorite street artists of all time I couldn’t help but post his new animation related to evolution a subject I’m extremely fond of, enjoy!


Landslide Community Urban Farm!

Radical Community Profile: Landslide Community Farm

Pittsburgh, PA

The history of the Landslide Community Farm is analogous to one of natures little accidents, a mutation if you will, that with in a certain given context becomes crucial if not startlingly beautiful.

Landslide has grown from a couple of fixed up “farm houses” to a non profit in control of multiple city plots used for urban farming.  Landsliders are using permaculture techniques, inclusive outreach, and smart campaigning to get strong rapport with city (even enough to fight off a unjust eviction attempt).   These permie punxs along with their equally amazing neighbors are making their urban environments more livable, more ecologically sound, and if dare say, all around more krunk.  Landsliders are truly stout folks with aspirations that include more than just themselves, but instead a desire to elevate the relationships around them, including the earth, and the greater Pittsburgh community as a whole.  Many Landsliders volunteer with collectives like Food NOT Bombs and most likely a dozen other awesome radical or progressive projects too numerous to mention here.

It is my view that permaculture is really 10 % physically oriented and 90 % percent community oriented because ultimately it is the community that will implement the work that is most needed.  The first rule for building community is just being inclusive by making what your doing accessible, affordable, and autonomously oriented.   Even when all the steel money is long gone it is the history of our relationship with the earth and others that will remain.  Landsliders are leaving a history in Pittsburgh that anyone would be proud of.

go Gaia punks go!

HPIM1445DSCN0580

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCN0503


Gaia Punks in Toronto

Enough is Enough….

I’ve been kickin’ it tough lately in Toronto, ON Cananda for the

the Question of Sustainability Conference

foucused on the horrific practices of Canadian based mining companies at home and abroad and alternative solutions to destructive extractive industries.  I’ve had such great time working and volunteering with some good friends who are members of the Beehive Design Collective and who have been key helping to organize this important conference on the horrible practices and biased treatment of the Canadian (really multinational) mining industry.   Toronto is a great community with lots of diversity, services and activities, good public transit (oh and did I mention good beer).  But Toronto is also home to Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) which is the only stock exchange in the world where you can trade shares in mineral futures that may never see production because of legal, financial, or environmental challenges.  The TSE obviously facilitates speculization and although Canadian banks haven’t been hit as bad by the financial crises stemming from the housing bubble it is quite likely them may be hit very hard in the near future by the mining bubble.  Toronto is also home to the worlds largest gold company Barrick Gold which has been stepping on indigenous rights everywhere it goes and has recently been implicated in human rights abuses and even murder in Tanzania.  To learn more I encourage you to check out protestbarrick.net

Tonight I will be attending a workshop given by Faviana Rodriguez  who is one of my most favorite printmakers and street artists.  Faviana is a inspiration, a woman who not only makes beautiful images that speak of peoples struggles, but who in everyway is commited to those struggles with the soul of her being.  Please see her amazing prints Here 



capitalism is a giant Ponzi Scheme!

yes,

clearly it’s true.

            —Don’t let the cute smile fool ya

                 BE WARNED!— because


Carlo Ponzi --"a truely American Story"

Capitalism

is a giant Ponzi Scheme!

I know that if you’re like me then the very, very, last thing you want to read about in these times is anything with the taglines: fiance, corruption, negligence, scheming, losses, or economic gloom and collapse.  No these things are not very fun or funny (okay sometimes they’re funny.)  But, thinking about alternatives  is essential.  Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of research on permaculture economics, finance, and theory.  I’ve found lots of good work out there in the noosphere.  Today though I was laughing a bit at the antics of Carlo Ponzi of the imfamous Ponzi Scheme fame the predecessor of the Madoff Scheme that the already broken banking and fiance industry is currently freaking out about.   It is a wonderful aspect of  life that criminals can teach you almost as much wisdom as saints, and if you know how to learn your lessons from their mistakes they might even teach you more.  

It seems some people have a hard time learning lessoons.  So what if the whole of global economy we’re to come unraveled in on ultra Ponzi Scheme?  Unfortunately, as many of you know, it very well could; that is if people we’re to simply stop buying government backed bonds in the current precarity.  Well, “precarious times call for precarious minds”, or as I like to call them the “carefully minded”.

.A do-it-Ourselves Guide  I just started tearing intoToolbox for Sustainable City Living  by Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew  cofounders of the Rhizome Collective in Austin TX   who are definitely of the carefully minded sort.  Along with great knowledge and methods the awesome illustrations in this book are done by my good friend Juan Martinez, also from Austin TX, a member mutant bike collective, and the amazingly prolific Beehive Design Collective based in Maine.  

Lets just say I love this BOOK!!!  This is one of my most favorite Permaculture books to date!! Go get it  because it’s only ten bucks online!  We need more books like this and more folks doing applied urban permaculture work in the cities! 

Permie Punx Unite!


Street art + Permaculture = Genius!

think permaculture

think permaculture

 

So I was in Seattle recently to see the fabulous Bass Nectar tear apart Nuemos.  What a great show.  I’m all about techno, neo tribal conciousness, punk, hip hop, and dance remixing!  Lots of respect.  Well, anyway earlier in the day as we were biking near Pike’s Place I spotted this amazing drain pipe “tree” that got me totally inspired.  For a long while now I’ve had many ideas about how to make alleyways and nooks more verdant and inviting and I will definately be adding the work of Buster Simpson to my toolbox.  I hope someday that we can collaborate for then we would be unstoppable!  All power to the Imagination!!!


Short story

escapeOkay

So here is the intro of a poetic short story I’m writing that will incorporate little snippets of both both punk and permie culture.  I hope you enjoy it.  I’ve been listening to a lot of Gogol bordello and will be going to see them in SEA this monday, extra exciting.  Also doing more street art which I love.

stay stout!

From Sunder to Solder

Cold, metallic, morning (absent of sunflowers).

En-route to Seattle, I-5, 10:00am.

One hundred and eight cars are spinning

like high velocity marbles

                    indifferent to the turning leaves.

A young woman sits with a soft,

but puzzled,

 expression

resting her chin on her palm.

Twenty two years old,

a life unscathed but much suffering. 

She’s on her way to meet her brother she rarely sees,

hopeful he’s in a good mood.

Sesame stares out of the car window intently. 

Her eyes, which are big and brown, swallow up entire landscapes without difficulty:

 

here,

a small farm with it old barn beaten

                                            and out of breath,

there,

 the complex mass of a  radio tower 

                                   looking noisy in its silence,
here,

        a gluttonous shopping center surrounded by pariahs of parked cars

there,

        a barren field over which a hawk serenely scouts.

Disparate realities pass along with the seconds pulled effortlessly to the points of her pupils.

Sesame enjoys looking out windows. 

She pretends that she can see things that other people can not see,

blinds spots of beauty,

though truly to her it’s nothing special.

                                                                  Today she saw leaves….

*******************************

Cold, metallic, morning.

Cars are spinning like high velocity.

Crowds come and go without direction.

Well groomed men, women, and children

(some with faces as blank as spoons or spatulas)

pass by with their respective shopping bags near Pike’s Place.

In the chilly air the occasional cry of a seagull

and the steady beat of a bucket drum float about,

distant. 

On the streets sky blue puddles fill to the brim with clouds.

Marcus leans on a frigid granite bank

smoking a rolled cigarette,

his shoes are worn and patched with bits of duct tape,

his eyes are narrowed in scrutiny,

beneath his black hooded sweetshirt marked by little decorative patches

all on can see

was a small,

                 tight,

                    frown.

Marcus is angry,

Marcus is hungry,

Marcus is broke, and angry, and hungry again….

and this made him even angrier.

It was not so much the experience of being broke and hungry

that made him so upset,

but a hidden shame of being broke and hungry that roiled his blood,

and which he hid inside himself

like a disease.

A part of himself knew that there was no reason to be ashamed.

“So what if I’m broke and hungry, I have a job now don’t I, isn’t that enough?” he consoled himself

“This city was made more for tourist than for residents, it’s disgusting!  What do I have to prove to it.”

“What’s so terribly wrong with a broke and hungry man?”

Even so, his frown

                       became smaller,    

                                          and tighter,

                                                       and angrier,

                                                               like a child’s fist.

Cold, metallic, morning.

The crowds came and went without direction

indifferent to the turning leaves,

and on the street sky blue puddles fill to the brim with clouds.

******************************************************

Springtime robins burst

through shafts of light seemingly solid

under a sky as open and infinite as the

pure mind.

Laughter tickles on the tongue and

dribbles effortless through eyes.

The day was ripe and juicy as a pear

and smelled of sweet work.

The wind is playing with the leaves gently like they are her children.

A man leans on hoe surveying his garden handy-work.

His hands are blistered,

and his red face,

but his mouth holds a hearty smile.

He seems quintessentially happy.


The plot was small, 

the cynical would say pitiful,

 Levi thought it beautiful,

 and had neatly sewn his heart into this space and the stability of the work. 

There was just enough sunlight,

                just enough shade,

                            just enough rain,

                                      and just enough room,

                                                but “just enough” is the make up of miracles. 

Squeezed unmercifully between two callous buildings,

(concerned only with their commerce)

 which had long ago abandoned them; in all its history this little patch of dirt had never know a love like his.  This ground he had touched gently like the way one holds someone’s baby.

He had carefully massaged all the construction ruble from its bounds.

Painstakingly, he had combed out the glass shards and rock with surgical assurance.

Delicately he picked up needles,

                                                    dog shit,    

                                                               and nails,

plucked up rusted metal,

                            plastic bags,

                                         carpet,

                                              aluminum cans,

coaxed out oil spills,

                        furniture,

                             cinder blocks.

Next, Levi carried sheets of rich loamy soil and blankets of moist mulch. 

Plastic barrels and tires held planted potatoes and turnips.

Salvaged decorative gates kept out unwanted animals.

From a toilet overflowed a fern,

from a sink sprang strawberries.

Old Pop bottles became converted bird feeders complete with humming birds darting to and fro in complex territorial warfare.  With bits of brick ruble Levi had formed meandering paths,  each one spiraling around the natural contours of the grounds so that in the areas that naturally formed puddles there were small, intricate, reflecting pools.  PVC piping stood upright filled with soil and cut with little openings made small havens for a variety of herbs such as rosemary, chives, and calendula.  Verdant baskets filled with tubers and bulbs hung from the bottoms of fire escapes and drainpipes and flowering vines crept up old electrical wiring.  From a city whose most common scent is car exhaust here wafted the sweet exotic smell of jasmine.  In this miniature paradise made of the cast off and neglected

nothing was forgotten,

nothing worthless.

Levi ran a dirty hand through his dirty blond hair and took a minute to breath and check his watch.  Sweat peaked in droplets on the edges of his high cheekbones.

2 pm

Time to cry.

He  got down on his knees and hugged his stomach.

“I don’t have to do this, it’s not helping anything or anyone, someday soon I’ll stop for good”.

 “Oh heart! How can I make you healthy again, don’t you see the sun shining, can’t you hear the robins, the universe is whispering your name, the light from supernovas past leaps across unthinkable space to kiss you brow, but here you are too busy with your sorrows to notice.”        

Every Wednesday for thirty three consecutive Wednesdays at around 2pm Levi would cry,

not a howling or wailing cry,

 but a cry born out of lonesomeness. 

 Levi’s Lonesomeness was as complex and rich as the loam he was building in the garden. 

 A lonesomeness that was fermented and rank with desperate odors.

It began with the taste of his own lack of companionship, a taste haunted with bitter histories of break-ups, walk-outs, give-ins, and not too long ago a death.  Next, it moved into his throat and pulled at his breath like a gasp.  Here the flavors held the residue off all those sentences we keep sealed up; messages in bottles destined not to ever reach any shore.

Each message was distinct:

Comfort

 for the old woman on the bus alone,

a smile

for the child that only wants us to know it’s there,

an ear

for  the old man to pour his wisdom on,

a hug

 for all that feel unacceptable,

a kiss

 for all those who feel unlovable,

pain never expressed,

forgiveness that never came.

These messages or there absence created a vacuum and this vacuum ended in his stomach

In his stomach it stayed solid as a rock. 

This rock was painfully graphed onto his skeleton and he could feel it below his sternum.

It was from this place that he cried.

And when it was done, it was done, and a small smile of relief would cautiously emerge on his face.

Levi picks up his shovel.

He resumes working.

The wind plays with the leaves,

gently,

like they are her children.

But, inside the rock stayed.

**********************

The bar room where Jasmine had worked for three years was a single neon sign, 

glowing inside your gut, 

(abscent of sunflowers)

shining some gaudy florescent pink or orange

on all those unsightly things you never wanted to know about yourself.

And the patrons all came like moths from the darkness

with cigarettes in their mouths,    

                           and round poignant bits of

                                                   loneliness for eyes.

Some were friends,

some were strangers,

some were strangers taken as friends,

and some were friends taken for strangers.

All were lost or losing.

Three years is a long time to live in a city that feeds fanatically on greed.

Now, was Jasmine’s chance to run away from this million megawatt monster.

Las Vegas gleefully murdered

the word

decadence

then gilded it in gold,

and hung on the mantel.

It had never learned the word innocence and love was a four letter world only heretically spoken.

It cut the sin out of sincerity

and later charged you extra for it.

Neon nightmares crash through fixed pupils

(scenes that could move one to tears

if only there was enough room left in your eyes to cry).

The circus master doesn’t tame the lions here anymore

he just lets them run lose.

Jasmine observed the restless hoards saunter up and down the strip.

Their tired joints obligingly helped them scamper across the pavement

 in order to feed on some carnal desire

or the 12.95$ prime rib buffet.

Open all night every night,

never any need to turn out the lights.

If no one here could save themselves from mindless self indulgence

you can’t expect anyone to bother to save electricity.

Look out for the glitz!

Watch out for the blitz!

If it knocks you down and out you’ll see stars (but don’t worry their not real).

Men grinning like wild stray dogs.

Women wearing layer upon layer of macabre make up,

-plastic faces in the night-

giving them the most chic expression of indifference money could buy.

“What are they hiding underneath such ghostly masks?” Jasmine asked, 

“I guess they must think it’s not sexy”.

Ahead parents lead their young children through a gauntlet of hustlers

flipping pornographic cards at passer-bys for erotic escorts and dancers.  

The cards litter the streets so that even the cement is trying to sell something to you.

All evening long 

workers from the Casinos will be sweeping up these very same cards,

entrained,

in a bizarre and wasteful parasitic relationship.

A few homeless folk are out spangin’ the streets,

                     their quiet eyes are full 

with wino witchcraft,             (yearning for change that can’t be found in pockets)

the pit boss kicks out a noisey drunk,

                     his jowels quiver

                    and his teeth

grit angry indignation.

 

The new dancer spreads her limbs,

                     her suductive movements 

                     beckon of

false allure,                            (never does she look up when grabbing a bill)

the tourists pick over cheap trinkets

                     the lines on their face 

                     marked blandly with

neutral indifference,

the confident gambler quickly shuffles her chips

                her slender digits are

flirting nervoulsly,                (disaster is more than just a bad hand)

the cabbie picks up some loud party goers,

                      his laughter is seemingly all

in good humor.

 

Who are the actors if everyone is acting?

Is it theater if everyone is trapped by their own theatrics?

 

The restless throngs sauntered up and down the strip. 

Tired limbs obligingly help them scamper across the cement.

All are lost or losing.

 

Jasmine’s bus pulled away bound for Portland with a meloncoly schreech of relief.

It was the first night she had seen the stars in months.


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