weekend review part 2:
effecting positive social change

So, as promised, a quick commentary regarding a show I attended Saturday night.

I don't mean to demean anything anyone did in preparing the show or anything, I think it was an awesome event and I'm glad I donated my money. Most of my qualms had little to do with the organization of the event itself. That said, a few things made the night a downer:

First of all, it was one of those punk-type events where no one is really in charge, which is cool except that it means no one really can help if you have a question, and no one really can move things along, so the music, slated to start sometime in the 8:00 hour, didn't start till approximately 10:00. The scene was sort of uncomfortable to me because there were a LOT of people who I like a lot from one end of the scene, if you will, and a number of others who I like a lot from another end of the scene, and feeling like I had to somehow negotiate between the two factions felt kind of shitty, first of all because it made me feel somewhat like it was hard to "belong" with either group when identifying somewhat with the other, and second of all because it underscored the fragmented vibe I've been getting off the scene. I guess it feels like, while today I have a much tighter "second family" in the scene and there are a whole lot of bands in town doing awesome things, perhaps the trade-off is that there's so little unity across the scene, and it sometimes makes me pine a little too much for, say, 2002.

Anyhow, the first band, made up of people I have a lot of respect for in different ways, made me (and others, I'm certain) feel really uncomfortable by mixing their laid-back, kinda not-that-together music with a politically charged quiz-show sideshow, in which the audience was coerced into engaging with the band about really complicated stuff--stuff that I definitely think needs to be discussed, but not in that sort of on-the-spot atmosphere. They couldn't have been THAT surprised that the reaction wasn't that great (I guess they always do this, I'd only seen them once before), but they managed to act upset when people didn't want to answer questions about effective community organizing and the role of art and culture therein in the middle of their set, with a bunch of people who they may or may not have known surrounding them.

One of the questions was, "Name five things you can do in your life to help effect positive social change." The first response was, "Forging a student ID to ride the bus for free."

Regardless of how much this person was jesting (I don't think it was all that much) it was pretty much accepted that this was some sort of step in the right direction. Nevermind that this is one of the reasons why fares keep going up and people who are stuck in poverty involuntarily are unable to afford to ride the bus to where they need to go; faking a Pitt ID is seen as a valid step toward a better world.

The next answer was, "Not voting." THAT answer got some argument. I'm all about arguing against that one, but I don't really feel like it was half as offensive as the first answer. But I was in no shape to argue any of it at that point, being in an uncomfortable environment full of people I didn't know or hardly knew.

Plus, the set was REALLY LONG. Considering that it started so late, it was REALLY REALLY LONG. I'm a fan of pretty short-to-medium sets, even by bands I like a lot.

By this point, while Allies are one of my favorite things going these days in this town, it was tough to get me moving, and the fact that the mics kept cutting out and we could only hear about half the vocals and no one did anything about it wasn't that disappointing, just kind of fitting.


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