Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Disavowing humanity

Awhile back I wrote about being ashamed to be an American, because it meant atrocities were being committed in my name. Now, I'm almost ashamed to be human. When the aliens come, I'm gonna tell them I'm not human. I'm not one of those humans doing this.

This is old news in the animal rights community, of course. For decades those who fight for the rights of animals have known that these conditions exist and are commonplace in the factory farms that raise the animals that end up in restaurants and supermarkets. However, nobody wants to hear a bunch of tree-hugging hemp-wearing Green-voting pacifist vegans wail about the animals and the unspeakable things they go through. It's boring and histrionic and we would all rather have a nice bucket of KFC or a burger.

I am not, by the way, weeping and wringing my hands and begging all the people to GO TOWARD THE LIGHT! In case anybody reading this blog doesn't know this already, I am Wiccan. It is my job to know that one cannot light a candle without casting a shadow. I live by "an it harm none, do as thou wilt", but the pure expression of the Rede is as unattainable as any of the Christian teachings. One cannot live on this planet without doing harm. I don't eat meat, and have not done so for 14 years, but that doesn't mean I am not doing harm. The plants I eat are sentient and they had to die in order to become food for me. There's nothing I can do about that. I walk down the street knowing that with every step I end the lives of microscopic life forms. We all do. There is nothing we can do about that.

But when I am celebrating someone's birthday and the celebratory birthday meal has been arranged to happen at the Carrow's in Santa Rosa, I can rely on the fact that nobody at that restaurant concerned themselves about whether the eggs, comprising the veggie omelet which is the only thing on the menu I can eat, were free-range. Undoubtedly they are not, and I've gotta close my eyes and plug my ears and sing "la, la, la" to myself so as not to remember that the same chickens that are having their beaks cut off without anesthesia and are being thrown, stomped, and otherwise terrorized before their necks are wrung, laid the eggs that I am eating.
You folks out there who love your meat, or who are on your Atkins diet or whatever, rest assured that in my ideal universe, everybody gets to eat whatever they want. Really. Honestly. Including you. However, there's one condition: if you are gonna eat meat, you have to kill that animal yourself. That's the only sporting, honest thing to do. If you want that meat, you are going to have to kill that animal yourself. Surely you will welcome that task because you really, really want that burger.

If I'm willing to pull a carrot out of the ground and wash it off and eat it, then surely you are man or woman enough to take the life of the creature YOU wish to consume. Go right ahead; be my guest. Just don't allow a corrupt, polluting, morally twisted, politically connected and otherwise inexcusable agribusiness do it for you. That's got nothing to do with the circle of life.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Luggage Store Gallery

The Luggage Store Gallery is across the street from the Golden Gate Theater, where Hairspray is currently being performed. It's on Market Street at 6th Street, which is a rather, uh, intense neighborhood. Despite this, the gallery has been doing really well.

The gallery itself is up at the top of a steep double flight of stairs and musicians perform at the street end of the space in front of a row of tall windows. Organizers Rent Romus and Matt Davignon told me that normally, there's a big velvet curtain hanging in front of the windows, but that it was taken down recently and they don't know why. They hope it's coming back, since it helps make the space less live, and Rent has a noise show booked for the very near future.

Anyway, Zeke Talbot played first on detuned and prepared guitar, with some looping going on and singing along. He had something very haunting and disturbing going on, like a serial killer in a scary indie film, that I really appreciated. I went next along with Will and Jim, and Peter Nyboer was last with his laptop music. He also did a turntable improvisation that I really liked. We all had the street light and the Golden Gate Theater marquis in the background. Rent told me that he was grateful one of the two street lights was burnt out, because last time they had both been shining in behind the performers and that it was pretty blinding.

Celeste was there with a DAT recorder with which she recorded our set. She'll be transferring it to CD and I really hope it comes out well, because the music felt and sounded really good while we were doing it. You never know though if it will come across in a recording.

In other news Ben McAllister has posted sound files, photos, and commentary from Big Sur on his web site. You can see it at http://www.listenfaster.com/bigsur.shtml.

In other and even better news, I've been awarded a grant from the American Composers Forum's Subito fund. It will help me make my upcoming fourth CD, Not Made of Stone.