Saturday, December 24, 2011

full speed ahead

All being said and done, tour was 74 days long, and we presented at least 55 times (i actually can't quite tell. but for sure that many)- plus general tabling (sort of like all day presenting) at several places. It was an epic tour. Here are some additional highlights from where I last left off...

first... a quick jump backwards to the first part of tour with a couple photos tyler took...

{In the twin cities- we had done a presentation at Boneshaker Books... which... my aunt and uncle came to! Here, Gordon is adding to the shareback from his breakout group about the poster. SO COOL!}

{more from boneshaker.}

Ok... now... after Columbia (where the last blog photo set left off), we headed to St Louis...

{A small presentation at the GIA gallery in St Louis}

{We also did a quick presentation at Occupy St Louis and got a chance to see one of their General Assemblies--- it was a cool learning experience to be around and something that provided a good point of reference as we saw more occupy spaces and talked with lots of people about their experiences working with occupy things in their town.}

{We headed to Urbana to do a presentation in the EPIC community center- the IMC (independent media center). the post office rents space FROM them (what!?), they've got a great costume closet, computer labs with lots of media making ability, a bike co-op... so rad.}

{Governors award for Books to Prisoners? Woah.}

{Presenting at the IMC}

{From there, we headed to the Heartwood Reunion, outside of Bloomington Indiana. It's an annual gathering of folks working with Heartwood- a forest protection organization. It was hosted at The Lazy Black Bear. It is such a beautiful, funky place.}

{Meals, together.}

{We did a workshop about storytelling and intergenerationality. It was pretty cool, and it was nice to spend a weekend with (mostly) our elders.}

{Once heartwood was over, we stayed with some friends from there at their amazing old opera house, turned lovely apt in the back and wild and mostly unfinished project space in the rest.}

{Exploring the opera house... we could empathize with the project (ehem- the grange). it's a very cool building...}

The evening after heartwood we tabled at a showing of Low Coal and Coal County- a fundraiser. I've seen both films before, but I found myself being moved and inspired by my friends and allies I was seeing on this big screen. It provided a space for me to reflect back on my time in WV- and I found myself writing a love letter to a friend, about how amazing he is... and that i feel so damn lucky to know some of the best people on earth. i really do.

{Our presentation in Bloomington, was maybe our most magical presentation of the tour. Outside, backlight banner, plus a really engaged crowd sure does give us the energy to do it right.}


{After our magical presentation- our friends from Heartwood invited us to a community screen printing and art studio they run in Bloomington- called Paper Crane. It was the first time nikki and i did the full process of screen printing. clearly- the totally amazing levels of the space stressed nikki out (?)}

{Putting screens together to get ready to...}

Super cool- and now I feel totally inspired to make myself a little screen printing set up and print lots of cool things. be on the look out for it...}

{After two classroom visits at GRVU, we did an evening presentation. Bret, our super cool host, introduced us for an evening presentation by standing up and saying
"I'm going to start talking now"
Hahah- it was perfect.}

{Super packed presentation that night. Standing room only.}

After that- we went to Cincinnati, Hiram, Oberlin, Columbus, and Delaware for presentations. Plus- I got to be home for a few days and be at Kaylas birthday party. Of course, to spite this being MY FAVORITE part of tour--- i didn't take any photos.
dum dum.

{We were hosted by a lovely friend- who set up three presentations for us in her studio- Red Hydrant Press. It was a magical and lovely place- and all the events were really fun.}

{After, there was a dance party with a live band. Because... we have to celebrate, right?}

{For the second night at Red Hyrdrant, we did a collaborative image making workshop- where we did some serious mind mapping and metaphor pushups with a packed room- to figure what should go on the banner we decided to make for Occupy Grand Rapids... using a stencil.}

{what do you get when you mix group input, collaborative drawing, mosquito net and masking tape?
a great stencil! (duh)}


{we also made small stencils on the side while we waited}

{For our third show at Red Hydrant, we did a kids focused afternoon. I spent most the time coloring on a poster... which somehow became a scene of zombie Apocalypse- and the zombie disease spread quickly... before i knew it the whole poster was green and there wasn't an animal left that had not been zombie-fied.}

{group photo- take one!}

{And take two- outside on the roof.}

We stopped in at a really great collective space and visiting some friends- at Root Force- in Muskegon, MI- and then headed over to Ravenna HS to do some presentation in art classes- with a super rad 1st year teacher. We don't have any photos (idthink... do we?) but the teacher had sent us some reflections from the students after the presentations... including these gems:

{image a photo kids doing cool things}

“I think those guys had a strong message that has a strong purpose. I think that it’s cool that they used drawings to show us how mountain top removal is bad. It was awesome when they told us that each of these drawings has a story to tell. The thing that I liked the most is that they talked to us about it and they are people just about our age. It encourages any of us to stand up and use our voice no matter how old we are.”

“I just really appreciate how they worked together and put their time in to make it here to Ravenna High School.”

“I learned to use issues in real life to be displayed through my own artwork.”

“The BeeHive Collective’s presentation changed the way I look at things. I’m not saying I’m a tree hugger, but every time I turn on a light or use the stove, I will think of the people’s stories.”

Dang. this shit is totally worth it. (thats not a quote from the students... to be clear)

{After Ravenaa we headed into Canada- where we did a presentation at University of Waterloo, McMaster University, then headed to Toronto to hang with our bee friends who were there. We did a presentation and day of tabling at a farmers market- at a place called Brick Works.}

{Sponsors (of the space, generally, not our presentation specifically)... walmart.
my life is so weird.}

{We also did a presentation about austerity measures and Free Trade- with some HS students- which- i think was my first time heading lara present. which, rocked.}

{and we got to see brea! (and nate- to spite not having photo proof of such things)}

After Canada- we took another whirlwind to some favorite places- again without any photos (which- i have to say- isn't a lack of wanting or thinking of taking photos but due to the fact that i left my camera in canada... oops!) Including going to Skidmore to visit Becks (and do a presentation...) which was SOOO GREEATT! and a stop in Berea, Ohio.

The last time I made a post- we were in Ann Harbor. Due to a mix of mid-tour tired and being sick- i have no photos from being there, even though it was a GREAT stop. We went there to go to the NASCO conference- which- was totally amazing!

I got a chance to participate in two workshops by two organizations i had crushes on. The workshops have turned those crushed into full blown love attacks.

One was a facilitation workshop (my first ever?) by AORTA collective (check out their points of unity, by scrolling over About Us. It's SO DREAMY). It was so good, and has proven very helpful to me as I continue to learn and grow how to be a better facilitator. (ok- truth time- i have day dreams about working with them. like- lots of day dreams)

and I went to a training lead by Philly Stand Up- a group from philly dedicated to
'practicing transformative justice to confront sexual assault through community accountability.' they are mind blowingly great, and i'm so stoked to continue to think about the work they do and figure out how to learn from them in the future.

Plus- while in Ann Harbor- I got to stay with Elias. Who is great. Just look at this guy...
{photo stolen- without permission- from his blog}

{We presented at a co-op bar in Milwaukee, Public-House. It's one of only two in the country- and in addition to serving excellent beer (and coffee)- they also have community events. at the bar. it's super cool. Plus, I met some really great teachers- who were all kinda of fired up about unions, and life generally. It was awesome.}

{And tylers brother lives in Milwaukee and came to the presentation- plus we got to hang out with him- which- was great.}

{One of our bigger presentation of tour was in Appleton, WI. Folks were SO into it... bam! amazing post show conversations.}

Additioanlly- other photo free places Kalamazoo, Chicago, Beloit, Ripon, and back to Chicago- for the Teachers for Social Justice conference. It was SO great to be there, and be surrounded by really rad folks working in the public school system. so cool. I definitely walked away feeling super inspired to figure out ways to work more with students.

From Chicago- I got on a bus and was back in Ohio for thanksgiving. Of course, lots of stuff has happened between now and then, but... one thing at a time.

sneak peak of my life in Ohio?
{baby mania}

Friday, November 4, 2011

ten states later...

we left Machias, ME on Sept 9.

Since then- we've done presentations or workshops in ten states (including Ontario). Miles traveled? Meals shared? Rocks collected (for a nephew who loves rocks...)? New friends made?

shoot. who knows. Sometimes- it feels a bit like a broken record... but... it can all become part of the whirlwind.

Mostly, I haven't taken that many photos. And while in Ontario, i left my camera behind (but thanks to a great kittycat and zebracorn (aka: nate and brea), it should be to me via mail when we get to beloit). Which is to say- these photos are just some clips. From a few places along the way-- next time (when I have my camera back, when i take the time to take photos tyler has taken, when i'm not on the road...), hopefully I'll have some more from this time period, and new things too.

Here goes...

{Nikki at Chutes Park- Massey, Ontario- early in the morning on our way from Maine to the Upper Peninsula. When we crossed the boarder- the boarder patrol was not to keen to my journal stating we were camped there under not super legal conditions. I was not too keen to boarder patrol reading my journal...}

{stopping to check the truck- which turns out- was the alternator going out in the middle of the UP. no good. The photo? well- it's for miss recent... while I don't think of food in terms of nuggets, she, and apparently canadians sometimes do}

{a short break on the beautiful lake superior}

{In Minneappolis, we tried something new and totally different. At the Minnehaha Free Space- a radical community center- we were asked to do a workshop on popular education tools. Here, we're doing something called the Tree of Knowledge- which challenges us to rethink 'knowledge' and gain understanding of what our communities already know, and what we want to learn.}

{Tyler leading a mind mapping workshop at Minnehaha. Overall- the 2 hours slot- which was JAMMED full of sessions, went well I think. and- like many times when you try something new- we learned ALOT of things and hopefully can do it even better next time!}

{Lemonade and books... with our tour host Nick who set us up with a full on schedule while we were in Lincoln, NE}

{While in Lincoln, we went to a child care service offered during ESL classes. For the most part, the kids were not that interested in our graphic, but some of them are were- for sure}

{A lot of the families that go to these classes are refugees- Lincoln being a city where refugees often get relocated. Our language and cultural differences became really clear- but... beehive posters really do work as a good way to break some of those things down and... allow us to just color some pretty pictures together for a while}

{at Indigo books- we had a FULL house for our workshop}

{we had small groups- to share stories they see in the poster and share it with everyone else. we asked folks to look at connections between MTR and tar sands- as the proposed Keystone XL pipe is set to go through NE--- and folks there are working REAL hard to make sure that doesn't happen}

{At a vegetarian Cafe- McFosters- in Omaha Nebraska- a family stopped by to check us out- and their little boy LOVED playing hide and seek between the banner}

{on a day off- we visited nikkis friends Sarah and Chase- and went out to Chase's uncles farm- Irick Farms.}

{It wasn't warm anymore- but... I still made sure to get in the last swim of the season in the spring fed pond- and nikki got time to catch up with her friends}

{before leaving the farm- we had a chance to pick some food- green beans and squash. we cooked it, along with the fish Chase caught, that night for dinner}

{setting up for a presentation in Lawrence, KS at the Ecumenical Campus Ministries}

{We went for a hike on the campus prairie preserve... it was really beautiful}

{Neil gave us each a gift--- hand sewn, hand weaved, hand died hats! so we now all have matching ones}

{staked heads. all with hats}

{In Colombia, MO- we did a few small presentations- including one on the FTAA- free trade area of the americas- graphic at a Food Not Bombs meal}

{we tried to focus in on food- because like many parts of the US- Colombia is bought and paid for by a dirty industry--- monsanto. their agricultural dept at the college there--- gets lots of cash from monsanto. i wonder what their research says about it...}

This last photo- is from about a month ago. which is to say- theres a lot more (i think. either way- they are for later).

I've been making an intentional note of writing in a journal every night. I think I've actually done that, which, is pretty cool (i think). It's been really nice to keep track of whats happening, catch the small things and the big ones too. Being on the road, meeting amazing new people (which- the beehive has this trick of bringing the best, most inspiring people together from each community... or so it seems at least. its a good trick...), and working very closely with 2 others... you learn a lot about yourself. It's kinda hard to put those lessons down on paper (err- screen?), but it's kinda like being put into a pressure cooker--- things speed up and i feel like i learn more about myself more quickly. maybe sometime i'll figure out how to share those lessons...

those lessons are the small things- though they sure do have big impacts on my life- the internal thoughts and reactions, the 'next time i'll be able to react differently/communicate more clearly,' the small personal interactions that shines light on why this work seems important...

and then- there are the big things. the clear and obvious-
and totally amazing thing

When going through Ohio (a time when I completely failed to take photos... common! really??) i got to meet my new nephew- frtiz. and celebrate kaylas 2nd birthday. and have a big ol family meal (family, babies, bees, mattie... oh my!) to celebrate my mamas birthday. hung out with emma, saw her cool new job place. plus! i did a presentation in my hometown- and met some new folks- and, and, and! family. friends. connections. ohio. it's ALWAYS a big deal.

We've gotten to see many 'Occupy' whatever-city, hear lessons from those involved, see and listen in on general assemblies---- watch it all. from the outside. And of course, sharing thoughts from folks far away (like New Orleans, NYC, Boston...). It's been pretty amazing. Some days- I feel like it's all a show. Other days, I go 'holy shit,' this is for real. it's starting something real. (check this tumbler post- this isn't a campaign- that i really enjoyed from a friend)

My mama is heading to DC this weekend- to be one of over 5,000 participants in getting down with some civil disobedience to stop Keystone XL pipeline (Tar Sands). Wish I could be there- but so stoked my mama is going (may or may not have talked about that during a presentation...)

I found out Sonia is planning to stay in Ohio now that she and James are back from their year long global travels... that rocks. I can't wait to hear about what they'll be up to...

My amazing mtr stopping friends have found themselves in and out of court- for the tree sit they did this summer. And, since being on the road- I've gotten to stay with Becks (just a few days ago) and am now staying with Eli. Win, win, win!

there are probably other really big things. and LOTS of small things.

And now- I'm sitting in the University of Michigan Union (student center), blogging through a fuzzy head (i'm getting sick-- oh no!), while we wait to set up our table for the NASCO (north american students of cooperation) conference.

From here? kalamazoo, chicago, beloit... (etc). a few more weeks of tour before we settle in for our winter beehive meetings in early december....