Yesterday, Observing Tension and Community

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Recently was another day that best describes the ongoing situations that better define national social unrest tensions in 2017. This, by yesterdays headlines involving the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. White nationalist groups marched, and a counter protest happened. There was tragedy resulted from acts of hate, leading to terrible injuries and a horrific fatality.

A day later in Seattle, a different situation happened, and I was there for a couple of hours in the afternoon. A nationalist militia group Patriot Prayer (and other sympathizers including the Proud Boys nationalist group) gathered for something called a “Freedom Rally.” while they claim not to be associated with the White supremacy movement of the East, there are similarities with their rhetoric (in looking them up online): labelling those in favor of BLM, anti-Trump, progressives, immigrant defenders to some incorrect narrative of violent “Antifa” anarchy, while promoting their own version of religious and gun-toting freedom. Meanwhile, there are subtle roots of racism in the PP militia presentations, with the usual promotion of “All Lives Matter,” disregarding the message of Black Lives Matter with their own distorted narrative. They claim to bring something different to the table of social discussion which becomes lost when appearing in military gear, preaching hateful rhetoric, politically cheerleading for the alt-right and praise Trump for his controversial policies that alienate immigrants and Muslims.

But oddly, they shared the stage with those giving back harsh words to them, and the white nationalist sympathizing festering from the growing alt-right. Lots of loud speeches for Black Lives Matter, Indigenous people’s awareness, Bernie Sanders, anti-fascism, anti-capitalism, clarifying socialism, income inequality, anti-racism, and anti-Trump’ all drew loud cheers from the counter-protesters.

Meanwhile, the PP militia group held their area in the middle, mixed with independent media folk. The nationalist group used American flags as peripherals, which I found bothering because that assumes the US holds a special place its dominant white demographic, should any other groups of a different color or ethnicity, or non-Christian religion suddenly gather in military gear and taking advantage of open-carry protections. Such an imbalance suggests the American flag in regards to militias and accumulation of firearms, builds for white privilege.

Anyway, some of the members of the PP militia groups spoke as well, with some very passive aggressive speeches about tolerance and free speech. Such felt a bit silly, with many among them passing off fallacies, alternative facts, and hailing Trump as some lord and savior for conservative causes. Of course, those were met with heavy boos and shouts of “bullshit” It was all an amusing with the display of cooperative civility, allowing for this “Freedom Rally” and counter protesting to happen and keep itself in control, though there were a few troubling incidents resulting in arrests and police counter-measures.

Overall, those gathered around the PP militia were anything but those what social media haters would describe in general as the communist, mask wearing, violent, unemployed immigrants, or whatever else incorrect labeling is out there. Such is wrong in observation of the assembly of downtown Seattle natives I see every day, bearing every class, color, and ethnicities; all young and old, with visual styles suggesting many statuses and lifestyle choices. Most in part, pushing for an end to the threats of racism and fascism (many with signs and adornments expressing such).

I moved about in the outer circles, mingling with an otherwise chill atmosphere, occasional bursting in cheers and boos (depending on speaker and content). The conversations were friendly, with word exchanges about social change and the recent situation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Also, many funny comments about the silent PP militia man standing in the background on the stage, constantly chewing gum or tobacco for at least an hour.

So, another fun Sunday afternoon in Seattle, for which I glad I checked out. Such forums are always great staples of this city life, though can also be unpredictable. Yet, I feel these moments are worthwhile, in the peaceful interactions and learning more about each other.

– Orion T

The picture was taken from my phone around 3:00 pm, Sunday afternoon. I wished I took a better shot of the counter-protesting crowd surrounding then PP militia. Such was clearly a larger gathering, emphasizing the Seattle local response to nationalism and its disdain for the alt-right movements.

Grow as People…

"Listen to me, Morty. I know that new situations can be intimidating. You lookin’ around and it’s all scary and different, but y’know … meeting them head-on, charging into ‘em like a bull — that’s how we grow as people."

-Rick Sanchez, of the Rick and Morty show.

Picture is taken by me, from outside the 2017 San Diego Comic Con, in a special area event hosted by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim cable programming. I love Rick and Morty, and ready for the new Season 3 episodes.

Picture of Today 7/7/2017, Music in the Park

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A small concert presentation in the park is a pleasant way to end the afternoon and move gently into the evening.

Such was today, passing through Freeway Park in downtown Seattle. The happening was a welcome surprise put on by the Seattle Chamber Music Society for their Summer Festival. The small event was free, before a gathering of locals relaxed in chairs and lawn spaces.

My ears appreciated and enjoyed the music. I hope to randomly find more when walking in the parks.

– Orion T

Wonderful Honkfest West 2017 happenings…

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The weekend in Seattle held plenty for those with little in time, especially moments with great band music.

For me, I spent a little time for the second day of HonkFest West, a three-day grassroots, non-profit musical festival run and produced by volunteers. Much of the big sounds are from street bands coming from a variety of locations and backgrounds, to perform along three days in local areas. All performance are free and open to the public. However, donations in monetary supp ort are highly encouraged.

I had a little time on Saturday, passing through Pioneer Square’s Occidental Square, where nearby folk can hear the music and cheers from around the block. Coming closer brought a special awe to ears, with large group performances involving all the best instruments of the big band sound. I mainly stuck around for two main featured bands.

One group being The M9 (the M is Minor), a local band using high-energy in its brass combinations to bring about “global fusion sounds of the rich Balkan Romani brass tradition form the core of a repertoire which excites, invigorates, and inspires curiosity about one of Europe’s most misunderstood minorities.” Here’s a sample:

The other being Love-Bomb Go-Go, a PNW band from Portland, Oregon, a retro-future intergalactic band group dressed in funky attire, using an awesome blend of brass and dance. They are on “a mission to mend, with music, the divisions of civilization; seeking universal equality and striving, even, to re-establish purposefulness for each and every life.” Here’s a sample:

After both bands, I was treated to another gathered performance of the M9 and some added performers for another amazing jam session.

I share some choice pics I took of the excitement, below. For more on Honkfest West, check out  www.honkfestwest.org.

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– Orion T

Of the 46th NW Folklife Festival, 2017

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This Memorial Day Weekend, I took a little time out to check out the 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival. The event is a wonderful combination of music (mostly) and artists gathering for free (donations highly encouraged) performance for the thousands of visitors present.

All located in the Seattle Center by the world-famous Space Needle, there was something extra special added to the grand mix of delights. That, being a full weekend of warm weather, supported by the blue sky and the sunshine. After nearly half a year of wet, cold, and gloomy weather, such kindness felt deserved for the locals and an extra bonus for incoming tourists.

I meanwhile did not spend as much time as needed, being that I had many errands and some projects to work on. Still, there were some good hours I got at the NW Folklife, checking out a nice variety of international sounds. Here, are some highlights in pics (with some video links)…

3 Play Ricochet, ” bluegrass band.

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The”New Genesis Gospel Choir,” I think. I forgot to write this one down, but the schedule I believe matches the time I took the pic.

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The Debaucherauntes,” a Jewish fusion folk band

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“See Beeze,” sidewalk performance

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The “Bollywood Stars”

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Greg Youmans, of the “Not Quite Full Harmonic Orchestra” one-man band

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A picture from my cellphone, showing the great Space Needle, with some reggae band playing. Sadly, I could not stick around to enjoy the entire show.

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That’s all for this year’s 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival. The past years, I covered more time, but at least I discovered some new music with a nice international variety. This year will likely not be last, and I look forward to checking out new acts, and hopefully more pleasant weather.

-Orion T

Picture of Today 4/16/2017, Happy Easter Style


Today was a pleasant Easter Sunday, where I spent much of it at the 2017 Sakura-Con, a convention for lovers of anime and manga. Though for me, it was more a nostalgic prance through a portion of pop-culture that is an occasional guilty pleasure for me.

There will be more pics and some notes, after I get some rest and pick time out of my busy schedule to sort and edit them. In the meantime, I hope the many of you out there had a most wonderful, adorable Easter Sunday.

– Orion

Picture above – no idea on who the two attendees were cosplaying as, or perhaps there is no reference other than the Easter subtext, but I love their presentation. 

Book Sale Shenanigans

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Woah, look at the all the books!

This, being the highlight of my winter end weekend, at the annual Friends of the Seattle Public Library Book Sale. This was my fourth year in attendance, now held at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Over 100,000 items, including Music CD, movie DVDs, audiobooks, vinyl records, and many, many books.

Many, many people joined in this massive treasure hunt. Many of them resellers, for which there are sure profits. Others, treasure hunters looking for rare finds. Some just like the cheap thrills and the joy of finding such. I can’t resist, especially at the $1.00 to $4.00 prices for each item.

So here, are some sights up close inside the massive hullabaloo…

History!!

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Literature!

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Rare Books!

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Half my catch, mostly comics and graphic novels. The other half contained mostly larger books and hardcovers (mostly odd fiction, biographies, and history).

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Good fun, though I will probably not get around to reading many of these anytime soon.

– Orion T