Sunday, April 21, 2013

FREE THE WEED 26. A Column by John Sinclair


A Column by John Sinclair

Highest greetings from New Orleans, where we just celebrated the 30th annual
French Quarter Festival and await the opening of the two-week-long New
Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival which will be raging at the Fairgrounds and all
over town as this issue hits the streets in Michigan.

When the April issue of MMMReport hit the stands I weas in Detroit for an
appearance at the University of Michigan—Dearborn, the sister institution to my
alma mater, UM—Flint, and then in Grand Rapids for the weekend at the Creole
Pig Festival staged at the Ice Cream Gallery by the Center for Peacebuilding in
Western Michigan to raise funds to replenish the wild pig population of Haiti.

The funding of feral pigs may seem an unlikely undertaking, but Ian Swanson
and Ted Jauw explain the concept pretty well on the radio program we
made together at the Ice Cream Gallery, now available on-line at my website as the John Sinclair Radio Show 490. My other
guest is Ben Horner, publisher of the MMMReport. Go to the Radio Free
Amsterdam Home Page and click on the photo of the man & child with two
Creole pigs in hand, then scroll to the bottom of that page and click on the play

The street-level arts activists in Grand Rapids and I were joined by a group of
fellow art guerrillas from Flint operating as the Creative Alliance of Greater Flint,
who conducted an interview with Ben and me in the lobby of our hotel after the
Ice Cream Gallery show had ended for their website.

Along with their very welcome interest in my performance at the Gallery and in
what I might have to say for their program, Jennie Moench and her FCA crew
brought me a bag of goodies produced by the Creative Alliance since the last
time I'd seen them: the tote bag itself, a black t-shirt with the terrific Creative
Alliance logo, a stunning little book of collaborations between Flint poets &
visual artists, a great book by Jennie about people in the creative arts called
Flint Project, a 2013 Calendar, and several little information books & pamphlets
published by the group.

Several years ago I enjoyed the opportunity to perform on numerous occasions
in Flint & Detroit with a fine band from the Flint area called Glowb, headed by
guitarist Corey Planck, and I remember one night on a medicine break in the
alley behind Churchill’s Pub between sets when Corey shared with me his vision
of forming a Creative Alliance that would provide Flint musicians, poets, writers,
painters and other artists with an organizational structure and hopefully a bricks
& mortar presence where they could practice their arts, enjoy the fellowship of
kindred spirits, make music together and devise various means of publishing,
displaying and otherwise sharing their work with the people of the Flint area.

Now I’m holding an attractive collection of evidence attesting to the strength and
dynamic growth of the Creative Alliance vision, and when I checked out their
website just now I found further proof in the announcements for their regular
public meetings: every 2nd & 4th Wednesday at 7 PM at Churchills on Saginaw
St. in downtown Flint, and the Creative Collab Nights every 3rd Wednesday at 7
PM at GoodBeans Cafe on Grand Traverse St.

At the public meetings, the members of the Alliance discuss their events and
programs, what each creative team is up to, “and what we can do to help the
city and each other.” Creative Collab is an open performance forum at which
everyone is welcome and encouraged to share their creative talents with an
appreciative audience. Both series make sure that the organization will remain
open to public input and provide an opportunity for any interested local artist to
participate in the FCA’s activities.

There is no way to overstate the importance of arts movements like the Creative
Alliance to deteriorated communities like Flint and Detroit, where public
institutions from government to the school system have long ago given up on
the arts as an essential component of civic life and where all citizens regardless
of race, class, or station in life have been subjected to the relentless barrage of
consumer culture all their lives and rendered bereft of exposure to the creative

If the twin towers of art and creativity are to rise again against the ugly, barren
cultural landscape of contemporary life, it’s up to people like ourselves at the
bottom edge of the social order to raise them. There’s no relief in sight except
whatever forms we may be able to devise out of our imaginations and our
commitment to making something interesting and socially useful happen.

I had meant to continue this discussion but I’ve been having serious computer
problems for the past three days since I started writing this column and they’re
not over yet, so I think the best solution is for me to sign off right here and send
this in before the whole thing breaks down. Thanks for listening!

But first, this sobering meditation from the people at High Times:

“One of our favorite movie lines comes from You Don't Mess with the Zohan, with
Adam Sandler playing Zohan, a top Israeli spy. The movie spoofs the never-
ending Middle East conflict. At one point, Zohan's mother tries to reassure
him: ‘They've been fighting for 2000 years. It can't be much longer.’

“Weirdly, that quote has significance for us because it begs the question: Isn't the
War on Pot supposed to end some time?

“Maybe so. A bill was just introduced in Congress that would fix the conflict
between the federal prohibition of cannabis and those state laws that allow
medical and recreational use. It seeks to ensure that state laws on pot are
respected by the Feds.

“Thus far, the federal government seems flummoxed as to how to deal with
the “adult recreational use” initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington.
Realistically, Capitol Hill observers doubt any change in federal law will be
passed this year.

“But, really! The War on Marijuana has been going on for 76 years. It can’t last
much longer!”

New Orleans, April 16-19, 2013
© 2013 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.


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thank you for reading, and for your feedback i bow