Dedicated to my people who were in court this last week. We’d been arrested on Tupac’s 40th birthday, June 16th.* Principally for “disorderly conduct,” or that remarkable recent invention by the Department Of Administration, “Other Conduct Prohibited.” (Which is I guess when cops feel authorized to tackle 20-year-old girls for having a balloon in the rotunda.) That Thursday the Senate passed the budget bill, two days after the Assembly’d done so, and we’d tried a variety of methods to retard the process. All failing, ultimately. Of those in court on Friday this week, Chris, Emily, CJ & I had the distinction of being arrested twice that day, though those arrests’ “reasons” & results were completely inconsistent. Multiple cops dragged CJ away from outside the Senate doors early on in our evening protest; Chris was yanked from our sitting circle of linked arms by his neck; Emily was also abused by the cops after they wrested her from the ground. (Emily’s arrest seen here in Sam Mayfield’s video at 1:34) They were all ticketed & processed a second time that night; Bridgette & I were just dragged to the elevators & to the State Street doors. Officers, completely outmanning the few of us, kept asking in the elevator, “Sarge? What’re we doin’ with ‘em, Sarge? What’s the charge? We gonna just turn ‘em loose or what? Sarge?”
Yet it was a little fun all sitting together in court that morning. Most of us were the last to plead, so we had a long time to unwind & work up a peanut gallery, just waiting to say “not guilty.” This enthusiasm in the face of utter horseshit seems symptomatic to me of how great it’s remained in Madison over all these months now. There’s certainly an intentional, liberal-for-the-U.S. sociopolitical infrastructure that ensures it’s not solely serendipity that brings together great people through circumstance & coincidence. (Should clarify I in no way think myself as an equal to any of these brilliant, committed people – but very fortunate to share in their company sometimes) This town has an infrastructure that was built over decades by individuals’ sacrifice, knowing their loss would amplify the next generation’s gain. So I’m immensely grateful to be in its matrix now, and trying to make the most of any given angle. Things can disappear or collapse quick, I’ve found it’s a huge mistake to assume an opportunity will still be there even weeks down the line. This really is a historic time for us, as a state and as individuals trying to keep resistance at the forefront of Wisconsinites’ efforts.
And I think I’m feeling extra sentimental tonight, having seen Thurston Moore at the High Noon earlier. First fucking time I’ve seen any member of Sonic Youth live, which’s terrible of me, their having been epic figures in my life since I was 13. But though Thurston’s surely over 50 now, and did strictly solo material, it felt fulfilling to see & hear him firsthand. I dipped a little back into Goo and Daydream Nation once I’d heard he was coming to town – amazing how just the opening strains of those albums seem transcendent now. Reviving & refreshing teenage-era optimism and energy, however fleeting. His setup tonight was his 12-string acoustic, with a harpist, viol(in?)ist, drummer & the acoustic guitarist who opened for him. Though given my mindset lately, woulda loved to hear something like Goo’s closer “Titanium Expose,” this quieter side of his songwriting tapped me ‘tween the eyes, too. I arrived late, but heard he introduced his musicians as “The Fuck You, Governor Walker Blues Band,” and halfway through the show toasted to our next governor.
Ended up with a good night post-show, getting to bond with the likes of Batman & Fetty over hours. Got treated to acoustic renditions from OK Computer and “Fuck Walker” originals, after Batman got banners prepared for our flotilla protest Sunday. Hard to not get inspired by people’s commitment. Be it her coming here with no job or house secured, just because she has to be here now; or Bill preparing to leave Wisconsin last winter, but got pulled into mid-February’s gravity, and recognizes the great loss it’d be to leave this now.
Seems once I’ve started something that feels good lately, it’s hard to stop once you’re in a groove. Biked home from the ASO halfway house around 4:30, but felt so good listening to Kleenex, Raekwon & Sonic Youth, I had to keep going around Lake Monona as the sun came up. Now it’s well past time to bury myself in the blanket, been on more than enough sleep deprivation lately.
* Also just wanted to mention how happy Chris was that it was ‘Pac’s birthday after we’d first been arrested. Emily, CJ & I waited at the jail for Chris & Bridgette to get released, after the cops’d cut through the bike locks around their necks in the Senate gallery and arrested them. I mentioned ‘Pac after we were all back out into the sun together, while his & Bridgette’s energy for wanting to get right back into the Capitol was mothafuckin’ infectious. Sure it sounds dumb to many of you, but there was an unremarked-upon feeling (with at least CJ, Chris & I) that his example in life helped us honor his legacy that day. In ways that mainstream culture’s spurned since his death. So I wanted to share the ferocity of his resistance with you here, even if it’s not even his damn song.