April 23, 2013

Revolt of the Golden Toads Bay Area Tour Diary: Day 1 and 2

Revolt of the Golden Toads Bay Area Tour Diary: Day 1 and 2

Greetings from San Francisco! I'm Andy and I'm very pleased to be reporting on this week's golden toad invasion of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Revolt of the Golden Toads Tour kicked off, most appropriately, on a sunny and gorgeous Earth Day.  We were thrilled to join the throng of wonderful folks at the Stop Keystone XL action that began in front of the Environmental Protection Agency Office, followed by a march to the State Department building.

Billy was kindly invited by the Native mothers of Idle No More to share with the crowd before the march. Billy turned our attention to the EPA office high above us as he blessed "the EPA worker sneaking a glance of us below from the water cooler." To his surprise, Billy found himself, in turn, being blessed with a sage smudging from the Idle No More matriarchs.

Monday, day one, concluded with Rev Billy's reading from The End of the World to a packed house, of friends old and new, at the treasured Haight Street literary center, the Booksmith.  End of the World is full of Billy's humor but, as the book's title might indicate, is also deeply sobering look at looming ecological catastrophe. Billy implored us to create and embrace "a Forest Faith that makes action possible" in order to save our Mother Earth.

"Oh, these unprecedented climate change storms! Are they full of unappeased forests flying toward their new seed?  Imagine that!"

Today Billy and Savitri D are speaking with students in classes at the University of San Francisco and the San Francisco Art Institute. This evening Billy travels to San Rafael in the North Bay to be a guest on North Bay Radio.

Tonight the Stop Shopping Choir and extinct Golden Toads arrive in SF for a series of brilliant shows and actions across the Bay Area. Get info on all the events here.

If you're free tomorrow afternoon, please join us at 2:00pm for a Golden Toad Extinction Resurrection invasion of the Chase Bank branch at 1720 Fulton St. between Masonic and Central in SF.

And be sure to check out some excerpts from Billy's notebook below!

- Andy Blue


At the Earth Day rally yesterday with the native mothers of Idle No More and 66 local unions and community orgs... A man named Paul approached and described the bicycle festival in San Francisco - where pedal powered sound stages, singers at microphones dancing and holding forth - advancing slowly across the city with the community biking them forward. Incredible. A cross between Dr. Seuss and Jane Jacobs and Buck Rogers, I immediately committed the Stop Shopping Church to a June 2014 concert. And then I dreamed back to the early NYC Critical Mass days, and how that reclamation of public space through cycling motion became such a riddle for the New York Police. You see them here in this old tape from 2000 trying to contain our freedom... and this history is shared by so many. It is as common to the freewheelers back then and the future of democratic sustainable travel in the SF fest as it is to the Occupy movement and cops' suppression of us and of themselves. But this history is still unfolding. Here is a poem, a conversation by a couple that have their history. But it could be a conversation between the bicyclists and the police. It was written by our friend Jean Lanier.


HISTORY: I am astonished to discover that we have a common history. You were struggling to find your freedom as much as I, and I see that we each had to find it in ourselves. Your talk of "love" frightened me as much as my talk of "freedom" frightened you. I felt you were a trap, and you felt I was a threat. Our life together might fall into this danger once again if we do not remember our free choice.


The Earth Day rally today, the native mothers of Idle No More leading the way (down one-way streets their way, our way...) from the EPA to the State Dept. -- both buildings full of people sneaking peaks at the eco-system of humanity on the ground below them, pausing at water cooler to visualize Earth beings talking to them through the architecture of fear and the cops. See us? We are moving our lips, "stamping our feet on the belly of mother" as the INM matriarchs put it. The reflecto glass on the fronts of the gov't buildings, even the EPA (which I thought would know better), like wearing Los Angeles 'fuck you' sunglasses only its a 20 story slab towering above. You cannot divorce from your own biosphere. See we are looking at you and feeling ourselves. Only because you are made of Earth too, like us. Are you working for Chevron and Chase? Do you have children, nieces and nephews and loved ones down here on the ground? The sea is rising the sky is spinning are you separated in your bunker? Buried up there in higher real estate values? Do you believe that? We have the extinction wave rising in our bodies and we feel as if we are about to speak a cloud forest language that no-one has heard before but everyone knows by heart.